Terung Asam: The Flavoursome Sour Eggplant of Sarawak
Terung Asam, aptly named for its sour taste, is a unique ingredient also known as “terung Dayak,” commonly cherished by the Dayak community in Sarawak. Distinguished from the familiar aubergine, this delightful fruit showcases a round shape with dark green skin that gradually turns yellow as it ripens. Upon slicing open Terung Asam, you’ll discover its firm, bright yellow flesh, while the tender central cavity houses small seeds that can be effortlessly scooped out and discarded.
What sets Terung Asam apart is not just its appearance, but also its impressive nutritional profile. Packed with vitamin C, calcium, fibre, phosphorus, and potassium, this fruit offers a tangy flavour with a subtle hint of sweetness, making it a perfect ingredient for soups. To prepare a tantalising Sarawak-style sour and spicy soup, simply cut the Terung Asam into pieces and add it to a pot of water along with lemongrass, chilli, ginger, and your choice of protein, be it fish, poultry, or meat. The result? A mouthwatering medley of flavours that will leave you craving more. For an extra flavour boost, some enthusiasts opt to include smoked fish, imparting an intense and smoky essence to the soup.
Another popular culinary approach involves grilling Terung Asam over an open fire until the skin chars, while the flesh turns irresistibly tender. Once grilled to perfection, the flesh is pounded in a traditional pestle and mortar, accompanied by belacan (shrimp paste), chilli, anchovies, and a variety of other ingredients, transforming it into a delectable sambal. This vibrant and spicy condiment pairs impeccably with steamed white rice, elevating the dining experience to new heights.
While Terung Asam’s versatility knows no bounds, it has even made its way into the realm of frozen treats. Although rare to find, you may stumble upon Terung Asam-flavoured ice cream, a unique and delightful twist on this traditional ingredient.
Immerse yourself in the culinary wonders of Sarawak by embracing the zesty allure of Terung Asam. Whether you’re relishing it in a soul-warming soup or savoring it as a flavour-packed sambal, this fruit promises an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.