Sarawak is a land filled with many surprises, from thriving festivities like Gawai Dayak to breathtaking natural attractions that see droves of countless tourists every year. However, the food selection of this great destination is in a category of its own, comprising delicacies with ties to ancient ethnic practices rich in history and flavour! Let’s delve into two authentic Sarawakian dishes which has gained reputations as standalone masterpieces; Kacangma (Motherwort Herb and Chicken Soup) and
Ding Pian Ho (鼎边糊) (Flat Rice Noodle Soup).
Motherwort Herb and Chicken Soup (also known as Kacangma or Ka Chan Ma) is a unique dish to Sarawak. However, the key ingredient, Motherwort herb, is not only indigenous to Sarawak but has been used in traditional medicine for centuries in China, Greece, and North America.
It’s traditionally used as confinement food!
This herb is known for its ability to calm nerves, improve blood flow, and prevent blood clots. Midwives use it for various purposes, including uterine tonic and prevention of uterine infection in women. The dish is traditionally served as a confinement food to help mothers get rid of “wind” or “angin” and improve milk flow.
Ka Chan Ma is prepared for health benefits
Originally, the dish’s preparation involves cooking chicken with ginger, sesame oil, and of course, motherwort herb, making it a powerhouse of “angin”-busting ingredients. The dish’s intense bitterness comes from the motherwort herb, which resembles a “lion’s tail” with its dull green, hairy leaves. Motherwort herb is also a mood elevator and helps women with specific problems, making the name “Motherwort” apt.
Men can also benefit from this dish as motherwort herb helps calm nerves, improve blood flow, and prevent blood clots. It is also useful for headaches, insomnia, and vertigo and can relieve asthma, bronchitis, and other lung problems. Ka Chan Ma is a healthy and nutritious dish that not only helps new mothers but also anyone who wants to boost their health and well-being.
Longing for a taste of authentic Ka Chan Ma? For a limited time only, Freshable presents a special easy-to-cook Kacangma meal kit featuring a NON-alcohol recipe (replacing rice wine with apple cider and apple juice), including an assortment of nutritious ingredients prepared by our team of experts. Check out our menu for more details!
Dian Bian Hu or Ding Pian Ho (鼎边糊), on the other hand, is a Foochow dish that generally comprises rice flour batter, fish balls, black fungus, cuttlefish, spring onion, and fried shallots, making it a flavourful and satisfying dish.
It’s prepared with a wok and a thick layer of noodles
The dish’s name roughly translates to Side Wok Congee, which depicts how it’s prepared. The resulting bowl of noodles is served with broth, making it a simple yet delicate dish.
Ding Pian Ho is like a cross between flat rice noodles and congee, with thin soft pieces of rice flour dough. The dish’s preparation involves an unusual cooking method where the rice flour batter is poured around the sides of a hot wok in which a soup made of seafood and meat is being cooked. When the batter is cooked, it is scraped off the wok onto the soup, further cooked, and then dished into a bowl.
Ding Pian Ho is a beloved dish by locals
The locals of Sarawak, Malaysia relish this tasty soup dish that is packed with seafood, meat, and carbohydrates, and can be consumed as breakfast or even supper. Its name, which translates to “wok edge paste,” is indicative of its unique feature.
This dish is often eaten as a breakfast or late-night snack by the Fuzhous, one of the many southern Chinese. It is comfort food that satisfies not only your hunger but also your taste buds and smell receptors. The mixture of seafood and meat in the dish is a treat for the senses, making it a must-try dish for anyone visiting Sarawak.
It has an interesting history of origin in China
Ding Pian Ho, a dish with a rich history dating back to the Ming Dynasty, is a testament to the ingenuity of Chinese cooks. Legend has it that the dish was invented by the cooks of Fuzhou, who had to quickly come up with a meal for a troop of soldiers who had just left.
Using rice paste and a soup made of shredded meat, dried oysters, onions, dried lilies, black fungus, dried shrimp, and dried scallop, they created a dish that would become famous across China and beyond. The legend of Dian Bian Hu is also a testament to the bravery of the Ming Dynasty soldiers who fought against the pirates that plagued the Fuzhou coastal area. Led by the legendary general Qi Jiguang, these soldiers were deployed to protect their homeland from foreign invaders.
Ding Pian Ho’s popularity has endured, and it has been served to foreign dignitaries at state banquets in Taiwan. Over time, the dish has evolved as it has spread to different regions, with some ingredients being substituted due to lack of availability. Despite this, Ding Pian Ho remains a delicious and enduring symbol of Chinese culinary tradition.
Sarawak offers a rich variety of cuisine steeped in history and culture, with Kacangma and Dian Bian Hu being two authentic Sarawakian dishes that are a testament to the region’s culinary expertise. Both dishes are not only delicious but also healthy and nutritious, making them a must-try for anyone visiting Sarawak.
The Freshable team now presents a series of easy-to-cook Sarawak-themed meal kits that are carefully curated for you to experience the aromatic and scrumptious essence of the great Eastern destination!
Our meal kit menu includes Sarawak Laksa, Motherwort Herb and Chicken Soup, Flat Rice Noodle Soup (Ding Pian Ho 鼎边糊), and Ayam Pansoh among other delectable options to try. Don’t miss the opportunity to cook up a great Sarawakian storm in the comfort of your own home!