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 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.
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.
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.
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 color 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 vendors insist that this is a different type of terung Dayak. It tastes less sour and slightly bitter.
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 1.5 cm-2 cm wide. Steam and dip in chilli source. The skin is not tough and gets cooked easily.
Terung Dayak in sambal belacan
Preparing the Terung Dayak
Terung Dayak skin is tough, so as the flesh. Boil 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
- Chop tempe finely.
- Mix the belacan with chillies and 1/4 cup of water.
- Stir-fry the chopped tempe till slightly brown.
- Add in the belacan and minced chilies mixture.
- Continue cooking until the belacan dries up and turns brown.
- Add in the boiled Terung Dayak and a few leaves of daun kesum. Simmer till thicken.
Terung Dayak Jam
- 600 g ripe terung dayak – boiled for 30 minutes and skin picked.
- 150 – 200 g brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Blend the boiled terung dayak together with the brown sugar.
- Simmer with low fire until the mixture thickens.
- The jam tastes like orange marmalade.
Serve with mini water biscuits. This local water biscuit is only 3 cm 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
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.
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.
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 may be discussed later in another post.
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 dream.
Home-cooked meals, especially by mom are always unforgettable !
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