Brinjals here,brinjals there.Brinjals,brinjals everywhere…..

I am always facinated by brinjals,especially brinjals grown in Borneo.They come in different sizes,shapes,colors and tastes.

One of these brinjals that stands out as an indigenous plant to Borneo is called Terung Dayak , Terung Asam or Terung hutan in Malay. It is also a GI (geographical indication) plant of Sarawak meaning it is very popular and widely grown in Sarawak.It tastes pleasantly sour and therefore named Terung Asam which means sour eggplant.Its botanical name is Solanum ferox L.Since it is very similar to Terung Bulu,it is actually botanically regarded as a variant of the hairy eggplant which is more common in West Malaysia and other parts of the world.In chinese is 野生茄.
Terung Dayak
Terung Dayak

  Terung Dayak flowers are white and immature fruits are green in color.The mature fruits can be yellow ,orange,reddish orange,dark purple to black depending on varieties.

They can be propagated by seeds.They seem to thrive in rural area and those grown in cities do not yield much fruits.The stems are thorny.Most Sarawakians cook it with seafood. Here in this post we have two recipes to share.

Before sharing recipes,lets look at various types of brinjals found in Sarawak.In this post,I will omit the long purple brinjals normally seen in the markets.Only the more unusual ones are shown here.

The picture below shows a kind of brinjals called Mini Brinjal. Look cute,aren’t they ? Perfect choice for topping pizza. They can be cooked in dal. They are about the size of a ping pong ball with white and purple color.It has thin skin and tiny seeds.


Terung Mini
Terung Mini

Those shown in the picture below are the egg-shaped eggplants which comes in three colours,namely light green,white and purple.These fleshy eggplants are ideal for pan-fried,steamed or grilled dishes.Cooking them in Chinese way i.e slice thinly and boil with some water,add some oil,stir-fry with chillies and dou shi(fermented black beans).Finally add thick soya source and thai basil.In Chinese is 胆囊茄 which means gall bladder eggplant.


Oval-shape terung
Oval-shape Terung telur-the white and purple eggs brinjals

Another eggplant is the Terung India which simply means it is originated from India.These are usually cooked in dal or curry.The skin is quite thick and the flesh takes time to cook.As the name implies,this eggplant is very popular among the Indians and is more commonly found in West Malaysia.


Indian Eggplants
Terung India-Indian Eggplants

The picture below shows another variant of Terung bulu.It is actually terung dayak but has dark purple,almost black skin on ripening.This black colour may be is due to the fruits being plucked while they are still green and on keeping them for too long,turn dark purple. Nevertheless,the venders insist that this is a different type of terung dayak.It tastes less sour and slightly bitter.


Terung Hitam
Terung dayak with dark purple skin

The eggplants shown below are not so commonly found in the markets here.The one on the left is Terung Jepun which means its origin is from Japan.What is special about this eggplant is its sepals and leaves are edible as well.

The one on the left are Terung Java which are small finger- sized eggplants with variegated green and white stripes.It is about 10 cm long and 1.5cm-2 cm wide.Steam and dip in chili source.The skin is not tough and get cooked easily.


Terung Jepun and Terung Jawa
Terung Jepun and Terung Java

Terung Dayak in sambal belacan

Preparing the Terung Dayak

Terung Dayak skin is tough ,so as the flesh. Boil  or simmer the fruits for at least half an hour for easy peeling of the skin and also softer texture of the well-cooked terung dayak.

Cut two terung dayak (500 g)in thin wedges.Boil in 1 litre of water for 30 minutes.Keep the soup for later use.Take out the terung and the skin discarded.When the terung is well-cooked ,the skin will come off naturally.

  • 250 g terung dayak ( from the 500 g boiled terung dayak prepared earlier).
  • 50 g tempe
  • 25 g vegetarian belacan
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 chillies ( minced )
  • daun kesum
  1. Chop tempe finely.
  2. Mix the belacan with chilies and 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Stir-fry the chopped tempe till slightly brown.
  4. Add in the belacan and minced chilies mixture.
  5. Continue cooking until the belacan dries up and turns brown.
  6. Add in the boiled Terung Dayak and a few leaves of daun kesum.Simmer till thicken.


Terung Dayak in sambal belacan
Terung Dayak in sambal belacan

Terung Dayak Jam

  • 600 g ripe terung dayak – boiled for 30 minutes and skin picked.
  • 150 – 200 g  brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Blend the boiled terung dayak together with the brown sugar.
  2. Simmer with low fire until the mixture thickens.
  3. The jam tastes like orange marmalade.

Serve with  mini water biscuits.This local water biscuit is only 3cm in diameter,very crispy and can remain so for about half an hour if  left outside the tin.

Local water biscuits topped with terung dayak jam
Local water biscuits topped with terung dayak jam
 Here are more dishes of terung dayak :

1)Mock fish fillet with Terung dayak in sambal belacan

 As much as I want to avoid using mock meat in my recipe due to its seasoning and unclear fat content,sometimes I have to make do with it because I have to cope with young adults’ palates and their demand for varieties on the dining table.So here I am,presenting a dish with a slice of mock fish fillet,slightly pan-fried, with a scoop of boiled or stir-fried Terung Dayak in sambal belacan on top of it.

Mock fish fillet topped with Terung dayak
Mock fish fillet topped with Terung dayak


2)The picture below shows Terung Dayak Soup with seaweed and bunga kantan.A teaspoon of Tom yam paste can be added to this soup.In addition,a bundle of cooked mee hoon or glass noodle completes the dish.Trust me,this soup is very appetizing.

Please check for the recipe here.

Terung Dayak and seaweed soup.
Terung Dayak soup with seaweed and Bunga Kantan.

The picture below shows another two types of brinjals which are Terung Pipit and leunca with botanical names Solanum torvum and Solanum nigrum respectively.The details of these two brinjals will be discussed  later in another post.

Terung pipit and terung leuoncat
Left-Leunca                   Right-Terung pipit

There are many more brinjals in other parts of the world,so keep your mind open,ready to be exposed to new species of brinjals.


                         Hey, Sarawakians who are abroad,

                  Do you miss this Terung Dayak ?

           Drool, drool you may but not in your dreams.

      Aiyo yo yo,I know…….

Home-cooked meals,especially by mom are always unforgettable !


















Are those Tampoi fruits ? Let’s find out ……..

Towards the end of the fruit season which normally falls on December,a few species of Tampoi/tampui fruits are always on display in various weekends and night markets.One of these is the Ucong(Iban),Belimbing Hutan(Malay),Belimbing Api or simply known as  Red angular Tampoi.Its botanical name is Baccaurea angulata Merr.All the tampoi fruits are indegenous to the land of Borneo and  all  are propagated from seeds.Though taste like mangosteen except they are more sour and the pulp not as fleshy,they belong to different family.Mangsteen belongs to the family of Clusiaceae and Tampoi belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae(USDA listing).

I wonder why it is called Belimbing hutan which means wild star fruits.It is more like a tampoi than a star fruit.A star fruit has no thick skin or rind for example whilst all tampoi fruits have thick rind with pulp inside.In Chinese it is called 单贝果。

Tampoi api with bright red skin
Red angle tampoi  with bright red skin

Its tree is medium-sized with a straight trunk of height about 10 m or taller.When the tree is heavily laden with fruits all over its trunk,it is really a spectacular sight to behold.The young maroon-coloured fruits turn bright red when getting ripened,then the whole tree looks like it is on fire.

Tampoi api tree
The red angular tampoi tree laden with young maroon-coloured fruits.

Each angular fruit is about 6 cm long and 3 cm wide with angular and attractive bright red skin with a tapering end.Its fleshy skin can be squeezed open by hands to reveal a white pearly pulp with three segments looking very much like rambai fruit pulp.Each segment is covered with a thin membrane.

Comparing to rambai which tastes plain sour,the red angular tampoi  fruit is more popular because of its sourish-sweet to total sweet taste.It is also very juicy and after being chilled,is an excellent thirst quencher.The juice which can be made into a cordial has great commercial potential.

The thick and fleshy skin is also edible.Its sour taste makes it a  great choice for pickles and jam making.The fruits and cut skin can be kept in freezer.

A close up shot of the tampoi fruits
A close up shot of the young red angular tampoi fruits yet to turn bright red when ripen.

 Another tampoi is tampoi paya which is equally attractive as the red angular tampoi.Tampoi Paya fruits are brown in colour and on ripening become reddish brown.The thick rind when is pressed open reveals a corn yellow pulp which is soft,sweet and  fragrant.It is not as juicy as tampoi Merah but the pulp exhibit a pleasant fruity fragrance which makes it as  attractive as the Belimbing hutan.Height of the tree is about 15 m.The round fruit is 3-5 cm wide,more or less.

 The picture below shows fruits of Tampoi paya(Malay) a.k.a Puak Burung(Iban) Latin name is Baccaurea Bracteata Mull.


Tampoi Paya with reddish brown skin and corn yellow pulp
Tampoi Paya with reddish brown skin and corn yellow pulp

The picture below shows the fruits of Tampoi  Nasi(Malay)or Puak(Iban) . Its Latin name is Baccaurea macrocarpa Muell.The fruit is 3-6 cm wide,almost same size as tampoi paya.However,it is different from Tampoi paya in that it has pearly white,soft,sweet and juicy pulp with a fruity fragrance.


Tampoi in orange brownish skin with pearly white pulp
Buah Puak in orange brownish skin with pearly white pulp

Equally interesting fruit is the mini tampoi a.k.a Kejirak/kejira which by its skin looks exactly like Buah Puak except that it is about half of its size which is the size of a ping pong ball and its pulp exhibit an attractive blood red colour.It has the highest Vitamin C content among all the tampoi fruits.Its botanical name is Baccaurea pubera(Miq.) Mull.Arg.

 Notice the blood red pulp of the Kejirak fruit in the picture below.The pulp looks like strawberry so as the taste.

Buah Kejira with the blood red pulp
Buah Kejirak with the blood red pulp

Look at the buah Kejira tree as shown in the picture below.They look exactly like buah Puak,don’t they ? In actual fact,the kejirak tastes better than the Puak.

The trees of all these tampoi trees grows up to 25 m high with abundant branches.All have flower spikes,except that of buah Kejirak, growing from the trunks and branches.

Kejirak bought from the market nearby.
Kejirak bought from the market nearby.

Their fruits appear in bundles on the trunk and branches.All four species have soft and juicy fresh that sticks to the seed.The pulp has three segments.The taste of the fruits is similar,sweet and tangy in flavour.Wine can be made from the juice and is called tuak tampoi.

For the nutritional value,please click table 1 for more information.

Buah kejira fruit tree laden with fruits
Buah kejira fruit tree laden with fruits

Oh yi oh…….yi oh yi oh yi oh…………

Tampoi is coming to town,

Let’s get ready to enjoy the fruits like orang utan , Yeah !