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Umbut sawit in belacan

Umbut sawit is the young shoot or heart of the oil palm tree. Plentiful in Borneo from the plantations, resourceful locals have found that it makes for a terrific ingredient. It’s less sweet than the more popular umbut kelapa, making it more versatile for everyday dishes. Tiffany’s mother cooks it in stews and stir-fries—she likes it spicy with hot white rice as a perfect foil.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Umbut sawit in belacan

by Tiffany Nakita Gerard

Umbut sawit is the young shoot or heart of the oil palm tree. Plentiful in Borneo from the plantations, resourceful locals have found that it makes for a terrific ingredient. It’s less sweet than the more popular umbut kelapa, making it more versatile for everyday dishes. Tiffany’s mother cooks it in stews and stir-fries—she likes it spicy with hot white rice as a perfect foil.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Servings: 4

Prep time: Quick

Umbut sawit in belacan

Servings: 4

Prep time: Quick

4 cloves garlic

5 shallots or small red onions

4 bird’s eye chillies (cili padi), or more

1″ fermented shrimp paste (belacan)

2 tbsp neutral oil

500g umbut sawit, thinly sliced

1 handful ikan bilis

250ml water

Salt to taste

  1. In a mortar and pestle, pound garlic, shallots, chillies and shrimp paste into a fine paste. Add the ikan bilis to the mortar and pound a few more times to roughly smash the ikan bilis.
  2. Heat up oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat.
  3. Stir fry the pounded ingredients until pecah minyak or until the oil separates and forms a layer on top of the paste. This should take about 5-7 minutes.  
  4. Mix in the umbut sawit slices and stir thoroughly.
  5. Add water to the pan, stir well, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Let it stew until the umbut sawit has cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve with white rice. 

Tips

  • This dish can be amped up with protein if preferred. Chicken, prawn, or squid are good additions, up to 1 cup of meat. This should be added after the pecah minyak stage in step 2, and cooked about halfway before adding in the umbut sawit.
  • Editor’s note: Umbut sawit can be hard to get in the city. We got ours by asking on Facebook groups if anyone had a kelapa sawit tree in their yard that could be cut down.
  • Editor’s note: Umbut kelapa is an acceptable substitute, but it will taste slightly sweeter than umbut sawit.

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic

5 shallots or small red onions

4 bird’s eye chillies (cili padi), or more

1″ fermented shrimp paste (belacan)

2 tbsp neutral oil

500g umbut sawit, thinly sliced

1 handful ikan bilis

250ml water

Salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a mortar and pestle, pound garlic, shallots, chillies and shrimp paste into a fine paste. Add the ikan bilis to the mortar and pound a few more times to roughly smash the ikan bilis.
  2. Heat up oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat.
  3. Stir fry the pounded ingredients until pecah minyak or until the oil separates and forms a layer on top of the paste. This should take about 5-7 minutes.  
  4. Mix in the umbut sawit slices and stir thoroughly.
  5. Add water to the pan, stir well, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Let it stew until the umbut sawit has cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and serve with white rice. 

Tips

  • This dish can be amped up with protein if preferred. Chicken, prawn, or squid are good additions, up to 1 cup of meat. This should be added after the pecah minyak stage in step 2, and cooked about halfway before adding in the umbut sawit.
  • Editor’s note: Umbut sawit can be hard to get in the city. We got ours by asking on Facebook groups if anyone had a kelapa sawit tree in their yard that could be cut down.
  • Editor’s note: Umbut kelapa is an acceptable substitute, but it will taste slightly sweeter than umbut sawit.
 
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© Copyright Periuk 2021

© Copyright Periuk 2021