Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BALABAY OR DABA (BLACK OLIVES) PREPARATION



Hokkien calls it "O-Kár-Nár". This is a local seasonal fruit that comes out at the same time as the king of fruits, the durian. This jungle produce comes from Kanowit of the Rejang Basin. It's dark skinned on the outside with yellowish and sometimes velvety pink flesh. It has a pit shaped like an American football or rugby ball. Its flesh is soft and creamy when cooked. It can be eaten with salt or sugar dip, or the way shown below. I'm sure other people have their own preferences.

Quite a few people make the mistake of boiling the fruit. This makes it as hard as the uncooked fruit and will render it uneatable. The pit is edible too when cleaned and dried under the sun; crack open with a hammer and eat it - tastes like pecan nut.

Wash the Balabay and put them into a bowl or pot. Mix boiling water with room temperature water until you get a degree of warm water that you can stick your hand into and not get scaled. Pour the water to fully cover the Balabay.

Cover the bowl/pot, and let the Balabay sit in the warm water for half an hour. After which, check by pressing on the fruit. It should be soft by then. Drain the water and transfer to a container.

Pour about a ¼ cup of dark soy sauce over the Balabay (½ kg.).

Sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of sugar over them.

Close the lid and give it a few shake to mix the sauce and sugar into the fruit. The sauce tastes a bit sweet, but not overtly.

Marinate for about ½ an hour before serving.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

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