“Kembayau-mole”

“Mole” as in “guacamole” (avocado sauce), not “mole” as in “taie lalat”.

I’ve a few friends who inexplicably have never tried Kembayau.

In my effort to propagate the goodness of Kembayau (Canarium odontophyllum) I always tell these misfits that they taste similar to avocado – creamy, lamak, and just simply beautiful.

So today I walked into the kitchen and saw a couple of leftover kembayau on the table. And feeling suitably peckish, I also began to feel dangerously creative.

Now, if indeed Kembayau is like Avocado, then an equivalent of guacamole should be possible with the stripey ones. So I came up with this.

Here’s what you need:

The ingredients

The ingredients: Chilli, garlic, tomato, limau kapas lime, salt. I would have used some Corriander but I didn’t have any at the time

And here’s what you do:

Get the flesh of the Kembayau by squishing using thumb and fingers until the seed slides out.

Get the flesh of the Kembayau by squishing using thumb and fingers until the seed slides out.

You'll end up with this. I only had about 11 biji kembayau that were leftover, and they were a bit oxidised already, hence brownish in colour.

You’ll end up with this. I only had about 11 biji kembayau that were leftover, and they were a bit oxidised already, hence brownish in colour.

Chuck in the chopped tomato, chilli, garlic, onion and lime juice.

Chuck in the chopped tomato, chilli, garlic, onion and lime juice.

Use a wooden pestle (or any kind) to squash the ingredients.

Use a wooden pestle (or any kind) to squash the ingredients.

Et voila! Kembayau-mole.

Et voila! Kembayau-mole.

Have it with rice and veg, and Durian- why not?

Have it with rice and veg, and Durian- why not?

Now, I do realise that guacamole should be used as a dip. It goes without saying that the Kembayau-mole looks slightly less appealing visually than the emerald guacamole. But ocassionally guacamole reminds me of a pureed Shrek, so I’m not too sure that’s an appetising thought either. The black skin of the Kembayau lends to a purplish hue in the final product. Perhaps you could remove the entire skin if you wanted to avoid the purple tinge; I’m not too bothered, personally. Thoough I would have liked some Corriander in this mix, except I didn’t have any at hand at the time.

But our cook made her own “tumis” version later on, which was nice too, but that then makes it technically a Sambal.

But I say: Be adventurous!
Give it a go!

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Binjai & Belunu

Binjai OR Belunu?

You know what? I could never tell the difference between the two if they flew and burst into my face!! I know one’s supposed to be sour and good for pickling only to be re-incarnated into future ambuyat sauces; and the other’s supposed to be sweet and best eaten immediately.

Meet Jay Leno.

I’ve not asked my mum prior to writing this post, because she’s told me so many times which one’s which, you get too embarrassed to ask again. But I do believe the binjai is bigger and brown, while the belunu is smaller and has a greener peel with brown patches – no, wait, that’s my auntie Yot’s hyperpigmented cheeks (not sure why she looks green sometimes).

It doesn’t help either that in my language there’s another name for one of them, “Benyu”. This may be trivial to many of you out there, but for an online-certified dyslexic and a borderline ADHD person like me, this is a challenge.

The Binjai/ Belunu reminds me of a set of identical twins who were in my Ugama class when I was little. Not that they looked like Binjai or Belunu (although I do know a few lantern-jawed friends who we used to call “scooter” or “binjai” or “Celine Dion”, but let’s not get into that here). These twins were identical – equally shirt-hanger-looking especially as they both wore huge Tudong planet that flapped in the wind much like the loose turkey underchin waddle of my primary school English teacher whenever she turned to scream familiar yet undeserved abuse at us (and we still had to stand up and say “Thank you, teacher!” after each class. ahh… naivite and innocence.) – I couldn’t bloody tell them apart even if my life depended on it! In fact, I still bloody can’t!!

I bumped into one of them again recently after sooo many years… and I could only manage a “Hi…apa abarnya eh..??” investing all my energy into avoiding mentioning either of their uniquely unforgettable names, “Yapoi” and “Yanggeh” (how’s that for some kampung-chic eh?), for fear of being slapped by their twig-like hand across my face. I’ve been told being hit in the face with a twig is more painful than being struck by a thick wooden plank. My childhood friend, Yajam, once managed to corner me during a war game and snatch my toy gun as he turned around to dash away only to ram his jerawat-infested face into a wooden palang that was conveniently low-hanging. He told me it was painful. I think I peed in shorts just laughing at the fallen soldier. I really do hope he’s not joined the army. I still don’t know about this incident with the twig though, although I suspect it has to do with him and my late Nini Yah’s disappearing chickens. But anyway, yeah, I didn’t want to call Yapoi “Yanggeh”, or vice-versa, although I really wouldn’t understand it if they took offence. They’re identical twins for God’s sake!

The Binjai-Belunu Roulette

With the fruit you see in here then, when it’s cut and served like that, I’m always hoping it’s the sweet one that I’m about to put into my mouth. But so many times, I end up with that evil sour one!

Buah Rokam

I was on my way out to work that Thursday morning (Tamu day in Tutong) when our amah came running at a speed I’d never seen her do before, told by my mum to hand me this, Buah Rokam, that they’d just bought from the tamu.

I was mesmerised. At first I thought “Where in hell did these cherries come from?”, and then I thought, “Wait, Why the hell are you wearing my Volcom t-shirt?” as I shot arrow gazes at the amah who was now limping back into the house, seemingly out of breath.

Anyway, I’d never seen these Rokam fruit before. They look so similar to fresh Red Cherries, except these come in a bunch on a vine, rather than separately like cherries do. But come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen Cherries that have come straight of the trees. So I could be wrong here.

Later on I asked dad what they were, and if they’re local. He said they were indeed local Rokam fruit. But I’d just never seen known them before until that day.

The flesh of the fruit isn’t like that of cherries though; it’s more fibrous, less juicy, and the skin was perhaps slightly thicker and it has a slight bitter taste. The pit too is lighter in colour than the Cherry’s. But nevermind the taste, I was more fixated on the simple beauty of the fruit.

So, there you go, proof that I’ve not eaten everything tolak batu in Brunei, hard as that may be to believe.