Posts Tagged ‘Satok’

Roselle Cordial

July 2, 2010


There were lots of roselle for sale at the Satok weekend market in Kuching, Sarawak. I haven’t seen these fruits in years, and certainly never thought I’d one day have to buy them. We used to have roselle bushes in our garden, and they grew everywhere in the neighbourhood.

The roselle belongs to the hibiscus family. If there is such a thing as trend in gardening, then there was a time when it was fashionable to plant roselle. They were real pretty too, with their vivid red berries.

The roselle plants grew well, yielding generous harvests….not that I ever tended to the garden then. I only remember that we love roselle because it was like the poor man’s substitute to Ribena (blackcurrant drink). It was sweet, and had a more tangy edge… but it had a pleasant berry-ish taste and it was real refreshing with lots of ice.

We must have made bottles and bottles of cordial from the roselle in our garden. I don’t remember when the roselle bushes disappeared from our garden and the neighbourhood, and I never gave it much thought.

I bought a basket of roselle at Satok because I had a sudden craving for the drink. Besides, a basket only costs RM1. And so I stuffed it in my suitcase, and brought it back to KL.

It’s easy to make roselle cordial. Just peel off the calyx (your fingers will be stained red) and discard the seedpod. Wash and rinse well, and then boil in water with loads of sugar. I had started out taking careful measurements, but lost track of how much sugar I used as I added the sugar twice more while making the cordial. The roselle is sour-ish, so you need a bit more sugar. It’s also nice to make the cordial thick.


My RM1 of roselle yielded a small bottle of cordial, and it’s as good as I remembered it to be – sweet with a pleasing sourish tinge – exactly the drink for hot afternoons.


And the kids like it too, and at least we know that there is no preservatives or artificial colouring in ths cordial ….. just copious amounts of sugar!


Satok Market, Kuching, Sarawak

June 29, 2010

The narrow lanes in the Satok weekend market in Kuching, Sarawak (a state in East Malaysia in Borneo) are crowded, and it gets really hot under the colourful canopies. But I’d not miss going to the market, which opens every Saturday and Sunday, as it’s the best place to find Sarawak’s food produce, handicrafts and knick knacks.

The sweetest pineapples are of course found in Sarawak

At the livestock section, you can buy everything from these cute ducklings to puppies to Siamese cats

The market is divided into different sections – wet market, dry market, plants and pets section, clothes and shoes section etc. It’s not that big, so it’s easy enough to meander from lane to lane.

For locals, the weekend market is where they come for ingredients from other parts of Sarawak. There are jungle produce like ferns, bamboo shoots, yam shoots, roselle, herbal roots and honey. There are also dried and preserved food like shrimp paste, cincaluk and smoked fish.

Smoked fish
Smoked fish is a local specialty, and not many know how to make this

Paku pakis
Fern shoots – delicious simply stir-fried with garlic or with sambal belacan

I love the market because so many of the produce sold are foreign to me. I didn’t buy much because we didn’t have access to a kitchen in Kuching, but I tried what I could there. I bought ikan terubuk asin (which I’ll blog about later), roselle (next blog) and Sarawak laksa paste.

Keranji Madu
Keranji madu, tamarind fruits which are encased in a hard shell. The thin flesh is sweet, and are hardly found outside of Sarawak.

Fresh bamboo shoots at Satok

Gula apong
Sarawak’s version of palm sugar, gula apong

Cincaluk is delicious with a squeeze of lime and chilli padi