Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ikan Baong

These are called Ikan Baong. Being top feeders they are avoided by the Malays in particular. Many others do not eat them for other reasons perhaps. However these fish are tasty if you know how to cook them and in the past they have helped many poorer families as a source of good and even free protein.

further afield the Baong is a valued fish from the natural habitats of the Kalimantan rivers. The Indonesians like the fish smoked (salai) or BBQed (pangang) besides they like to cook this fish with terong asam (or the Iban Terong of Sarawak) in soup. Tumeric is often used to cook the baong in Java. Some folks like to eat curried baong. So the recipes can be really varied and it is only your imagination that can bring this fish to a great level of gourmet cooking.

As a kid I enjoyed eating this fish cooked as a soup Foochow style - the way my Third Uncle cooked it. Today many of my friends would just call it "sup terjun". Uncle Pang Sing would catch quite a number of Ikan Baong in the Rajang River and come home whistling in the happy manner he always did.

My third aunt (Nguk Ling) would start the wood fire and chop the ginger. Grandmother Lian Tie would take out the red wine. The water would come to the boil and the ingredients would be added. By then uncle would have gutted the fish and sliced them into pieces ready for the pot.

We would either have the fish as supper( siaw yeh) or part of the big evening dinner with rice depending on what time my uncle caught the fish.

Gone are the days when a happy man could throw a jala into the river and come home with a pailful of fish and/or prawns. The Rajang was teeming with fish and it was truly a Mother River - a great provider.

Today the river is dying - dying - dying. We have to do something before it is too late.

7 memories:

Anonymous said...

yeah sad, the river is dying. baram river has this species also called ikan baong but bigger than the ones in your pics. i love it cooked in ginger torch. delicious!

Superman said...

last time when flooded, many of Baong fish floating in the river gulping for air. Really have to stay to worry about the cleanness of the river.

Ensurai said...

Dear JG
Yes the Baram has the same but bigger species. These Ikang Baong in my photos are small smaller rivers (and may be small species) but they are definitely yonger ones.
Good to cook with torch ginger (kechalak).
thanks for dropping by.

Ensurai said...

My friend residing in the Malay Kampong in Marudi (next to SK Dato Sharip) reminded me her family caught more than 15 kg of fish including lots of Baong during the recent big flood in Marudi....
It was a good fishing period for many people living along the Baram then. The good and bad of flooding.
Yes we must keep the rivers clean!!

Robert Rizal Abdullah said...

Nowadays it is not so bad, as the fish is bred in ponds and fed with fish food.

Ikan patin (in the river) has an even worse reputation. I refused to eat the fish when I was a boy schooling in Kapit. I saw with my own eyes a school of ikan patin fighting over some floating faeces somebody had dropped upstream. But of course today, here in Semenanjung, they are reared in the ponds for the market.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Hi Happy Mother's Day to the NN...

I think there are now a lot of pond patin. But I am wondering if Baong can be pond reared or not.

Thanks for visiting.

Unknown said...

Yes,every thing has changed and there is no turning back .Back in the sixties,kanowit river was very clean and baoing head was cooked in soup and tasted wonderful as they were from very clean and natural source


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