Preserved Pork (Pinongian)

Pinongian is one of the traditional foods that have been handed down from generation to generation of KadazanDusun people. This is the best way to store food for longer lasting, especially in the days before there are refrigerator. In that time, when they got more result in their hunting or fishing, they need to preserve it for not to become stale and rotten.

The preservative used is the Flesh of the seeds from the tree Pangium edule or known locally as Pangi (called buah keluak or kepayang in Malay). It widely grows in the forest. The preservative quality of the seed is very potent (contain hydrogen cyanide) that eating it raw can induce nausea, vomiting and even death. The fresh pangi need to soak for a few days and then smoke-dry before can use it flesh as preservative.

Actually Pinongian is different from Bosou even though both been through fermentation process. The difference is, bosou being preserved to get it sourish taste while pinongian preserved in order to make the meat or fish will last longer. Bosou can be eaten directly after the fermentation, while pinongian must be cooked before serving, even after preserved within a period of time.

Here I would like to show you how to make pinongian. This time I used the pork skin and some pork lard. However you can follow the same method if you want to preserve fish or other meat.

  • 1kg skin and pork lard
  • 10-15 pangi

Step 1:
Pound pangi flesh into coarse powder
Step 2:
Clean, cut and drain the skin and pork lard
Step 3:
Sprinkle the pangi over the meat
Step 4:
Mix until well combined
Step 5:
Store in airtight bottle, container or jar
 ***We will see the results within 2 -4 weeks. More fragrant and more delicious if preserved for a longer period***


Braised Pork in Soy Sauce

I have tried many version of this dish since my childhoods. It is actually a popular Chinese Hokkien dish known as Tau Yue Bak. The Chinese version is always cooked with some boiled eggs and sometimes with some mushrooms. There are many ways to cook this dish.  Some like it with lighter sauce, some like thicker sauce and some even like it in spicy version. Actually there is no regulation on how it should be; the important thing is how the taste will satisfy your taste bud.

KadazanDusun modern cuisine is more influenced by the Chinese cuisine especially in pork dishes.  My mother's version for this dish is very simple in which the ingredients needed are only soy sauce, pork and some other simple ingredients.  As far as I remember, she never adds hard boiled egg to her braised pork.  

My kids doesn't really likes spices such as cinnamon stick and star anise, so  I made some modifications in my version by adding some type of ingredients that I feel fit and able to add more flavor and fragrance to the dish.  My version is slightly dry with a bit of oil out of the meat.   I'm also accustomed to not adding boiled eggs into it.


  1. 1kg pork shoulder
  2. 2 whole bulbs of garlic
  3. 1inc galangal (mashed)
  4. 1tsp Chinese 5 spices powder
  5. 5tbsp dark soy sauce
  6. 5tbsp light soy sauce
  7. Some rock sugar
  8. 2 cups of water


  • Rinse and cut pork shoulder into bite size.
  • Combine all ingredients (except water) in a pot. Marinate for a about 30 minutes.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the meat juice are slightly dried out.
  • Pour in water and let to boil.
  • Once the water boils, lower the heat and braise for 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked thoroughly and become tender. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning.
  • Serve with rice.

*** This dish is very flexible. You can adjust the taste if more light soy sauce or dark soy sauce are needed and add more water if you like it with more gravy ***


Fish head with Watercress Soup

Soup is a must dish in KadazanDusun daily meal.  It is such a complementary to every meal in lunch or dinner. Even in a simple meal, there must be a sup.  Sometimes it can be served alone as a main dish and eaten with plain white rice.

My recipe for today is the fish head soup with watercress. As stated by Kitchen Flavours in his watercress soup recipe, The watercress is really nutritious and delicious as it helps to reduce heatiness and detoxifies the body. 

Watercress does have many benefits for health.  Compared to raw and boiled broccoli, raw tomato and a raw apple, Watercress is the better source of vitamins C, B1 and B6, K, E, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc.

Everybody knows that fish is an excellent source of protein, a vital source of essential fatty acids and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.  So the combination of fish head and watercress soup not only tastes delicious but also full of nutrients.

Fish Head with Watercress Soup

  1. 1 fish head
  2. a bunch of watercress
  3. some ginger (thinly sliced)
  4. some white part of scallion (sliced)
  5. 1 tbsp sesame oil
  1. 1tbsp salt
  2. a pinch of anchovies granules
  3. a pinch of pepper powder

  • Clean the fish head and cut into medium pieces.  
  • Coat with cornstarch, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper powder. Marinate for a while. Fry until golden brown.  Set aside.
  • Clean and simply pluck the leaves and the soft part of the watercress stems.
  • Heat up sesame oil in a pot.  Fry ginger until aromatic and then add in sliced white part of scallion.
  • Pour about 1litre of water and bring to boil.
  • Add in fish head followed by seasoning ingredients. Boil in medium heat for a while.
  • Add in watercress, simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir gently occasionally for fish head is not destroyed.  
  • Serve hot.


Fried Fish With Tamarillo Sauce

Do you know this fruit? Its call Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea) or Tree Tomato Plant, in same family with the potato, tomato, eggplant and capsicum. It’s native to Central and South America. According to wikipedia Prior to 1967, the tamarillo was known as "tree tomato" in New Zealand, but a new name was chosen by the 'New Zealand Tree Tomato Promotions Council' in order to distinguish it from the ordinary tomato and increase its exotic appeal.  Nowadays it’s known as tamarillo in many country but still called Tree Tomato in most of the world.  Tamarillo rates highly as a source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants when compared to other common fruits and vegetables.
  • Low in fat and hence calories
  • Low in carbohydrates and the carbohydrate present is mainly in the form of fiber
  • High in potassium but extremely low in sodium, which is a desirable balance for a healthy diet
  • Contains other trace elements important for health, in particular copper and manganese
  • Source of fiber
  • Source of Vitamin A, B6 and C. Also contains Vitamin E and Thiamine
Here in Sabah it rarely found and only grow in the highland area surrounding the Mount Kinabalu.  Here we call it kambatus kayu (in English means tree tomato). It’s has a unique and exotic taste.  The flesh of the tamarillo is tangy and mildly sweet and may be compared to kiwifruit, tomato or passion fruit. The skin and the flesh near it have an unpleasant bitter taste. In my traditional dishes the raw tamarillo usually used in cooking taduk ( batang keladi masak asam), stir-fry with salted fish or anchovies and to make a pickle. The ripen one usually eaten fresh.  Inspired by the recipe I got from the internet, I manage to create my own simple tamarillo sauce using the ripe tamarillo.  Unique taste yet very delicious.

poor image ~ mobile upload

Fried Fish with Tamarillo Sauce

  1. Some fried fish 
  2. 5 tamarillo
  3. 1 red chili (sliced)
  4. 2 garlic (mince)
  5. 2tbsp tomato sauce
  6. 2tbsp oyster sauce
  7. 1tbsp sugar
  8. 1tbsp pepper powder
  9. 1tsp corn starch diluted in a little water

  • Make a small cross in the bottom of each tamarillo with a sharp knife.  Dip the tamarillos into hot boiling water about a minute to easily peel off the skin.
  • Remove seeds and finely chopped.
  • Stir-fry minced garlic until fragrant.  
  • Stir in chopped tamarillo and cook gently for about 2 minute.
  • Add in sliced red chili, tomato sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and pepper powder.  Stir until well combined.
  • Thicken the sauce by a little corn starch water.
  • Pour the sauce over the fried fish.  Ready to serve.
Fried Fish with Tamarillo Sauce


Chicken Wings in Tuhau Flavor

Just mention the word 'Tuhau', what would be surely reflected in your mind is the sambal tuhau. Actually tuhau not only delicious to made as sambal.  It can also be mixed in any type of cooking.  Although the smell of the tuhau is quite strong but it has a slight natural sweet taste. If you use it in your cooking especially meat dishes, you should not add too much flavoring such as MSG because the tuhau itself can generate the natural flavor of the dishes.

Today's recipe is about the chicken wings cooked with tuhau and some other ingredients. It is quite easy to prepare and tastes so good. Here's the recipe.

Chicken Wings in Tuhau Flavor


4 chicken wings
2 tomato (sliced)
1 stem tuhau (sliced)
some ginger (sliced)
some garlic (sliced)
1 tbsp chili paste
Seasoning ingredients:
  1. 1tbsp light soy sauce
  2. 1tsp oyster sauce
  3. 1tsp sugar
  4. 1tsp  pepper powder
  5. half glass of water

    Cooking Method:
    • Cut chicken wings into 3 section. Keep aside.
    • Stir fry sliced garlic, ginger and chili paste until fragrant. 
    • Enter chicken wings and sliced tuhau.  Stir until well combined.
    • Add in all seasoning ingredients followed by half glass of water.  
    • Bring to simmer until the gravy is almost dry.  Add in sliced tomato, stir for a while.  And its done. 

    Chicken Wings in Tuhau Flavor


    Stir-fry Kampung Cucumber with Canned Mackerel

    Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash.  Varieties of cucumber are grown either to be eaten fresh or to be pickled. Those that are to be eaten fresh are commonly called slicing cucumbers. Cucumbers such as gherkins that are specially cultivated to make pickles are oftentimes much smaller than slicing cucumbers. There are many nutrients found in cucumber.  Visit whfoods for more info.  

    Today's recipe is about the kampung cucumber.  We have plenty of this during the hill paddy plant began to bear fruits until the end of harvest season. Planted amid the paddy plants make it more fragrant with a slight paddy aroma. It is more organic because it’s free from any pesticide and herbicide. Kampung cucumber has a higher liquid content than the ordinary cucumber. It is usually eaten fresh as a thirst killer, especially by farmers who happened to find it amid the paddy plant while they are working on their farms. Also very suitable to make pickles, stir-fry and mixed in soup dishes.

    Stir-fry Kampung Cucumber with Canned Mackerel

    Main Ingredients:

    kampung cucumber
    canned mackerel in tomato sauce
    • 2 garlic (sliced)
    • 2 shallots (sliced)
    • 1 cup of water

    Seasoning Ingredients:
    1. 1tbsp light soy sauce
    2. 1tsp dark soy sauce
    3. 1tsp anchovies granule
    4. 1tsp pepper powder

    Cooking Method:
    • Cut cucumber into four sections. Peel skin, remove seeds and slice thinly.
    • Stir -fry garlic and shallots until fragrant.  Add in canned mackerel.
    • Pour in all seasoning ingredients and stir until well combined.
    • Enter the sliced cucumber followed by a cup of water.  Stir briefly.
    • Cook until the cucumber become slightly transparent. Done.
    Stir-fry Kampung Cucumber with Canned Mackerel


    Fish Soup with Sarawak Sour Eggplant

    My Sarawakian Chinese neighbor is very pleased to give me some Sarawak sour eggplant.  She told me that the eggplant is really tasty to cook as soup with fresh fish.  Excited and can't wait to try, I take the eggplant without long-winded question and cook it as recommended. But... I was a kind of shocked. For the first time my cooking is really not to be as desired. There was kind of unpleasant smell and the taste is so weird (because the sarawak eggplant is a bit hard and taste different from the regular eggplant). I feel a bit guilty to throw away a pot of fish soup. Nobody is interested to eat it...  :(

    Sarawak Sour Eggplant
    Still not satisfied with the incident, I decided to ask for the actual recipe from my neighbor. I was lucky that I still keep one of the eggplant.  According to her recipe, the eggplant is actually really suitable for cooking as soup.  But the eggplant should be cooked until completely tenderize and the fish should be fried first before mixed into the eggplant soup to remove it unpleasant fishy smell. By following the recipe given by my neighbors, eventually I managed to cook the delicious soup. It was very tasty with a slightly sour taste.  Here I feel glad to share this recipe, it's totally adapted from my neighbor’s recipe...

    Fish Soup with Sarawak Sour Eggplant

    Main ingredient:
    1. 1 Sarawak sour eggplant (sliced and de-seeds)
    2. 300 gm fresh fish (I use red mullet)
    Pounded ingredients:
    1. 1  garlic
    2. 2 shallots
    3. 1 Inc ginger
    4. 2 red chilies
    5. 2 stalks of lemongrass

    Seasoning ingredients:

    1. 1 tbsp salt
    2. 1 tsp sugar
    3. 1 tbsp tom yam paste
    Cooking Method:
    • Deep-fry the fresh fish in hot oil until well done.  Set aside.
    • Stir fry pounded ingredients in 2 tbsp oil until fragrant.  Add about 750ml water and bring to boil.
    • Enter the Sarawak sour eggplant and then cover the pot. Simmer until the eggplant is completely tenderize and skins nearly separated.
    • Add in seasoning ingredients and mix well.
    • Add in the fish; keep simmering for a little while.  Done
    • Garnish with chopped scallions before serving.

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