Sengkubak or Pycharrhena Cauliflora: Natural Flavor Enhancer of the Dayak People

The morphology of Sengkubak, a distinctive seasoning in Dayak cuisine.

Borneo, the land of the Dayak people, harbors an unparalleled wealth of nature. One of them is a distinctive plant used as a natural flavor enhancer.

This fact is certainly intriguing for tourists, especially those with a high curiosity about the natural riches and unique flora of Borneo.

Many plants. Also, fruits labeled "Dayak." Dayak eggplant, Dayak onion, two of them are famous. And the third famous one is the natural flavor enhancer of the Dayak people namely Sengkubak.

Natural Flavor Enhancer of the Dayak People

In this era, people often want to return to natural things. Or back to nature. Besides being healthy, it also satisfies the taste buds. One of them is a natural spice that has been known and practiced among the Dayak ethnic groups since ancient times.

Sengkubak is one of the natural MSG of the Dayak people. It grows in the wild forests of Kalimantan. Apparently, its morphology is similar to climbing root plants that climb other trees. Its habitat is under the shade of tall trees.

Its leaves are oblong, similar to cocoa leaves. In the past, and still practiced today, whenever cooking any dish, these Sengkubak leaves are mixed in as a natural spice.

The most delicious are cassava leaves, other vegetables, and especially bamboo shoots. Sengkubak can also be a seasoning for meat dishes. The meat becomes tender, and its aroma is truly unique, unparalleled.

It is not impossible that someday we will find Sengkubak sold freely in the market as a ready-made seasoning. Similar to MSG or other seasoning, like Masako, for example. The way to use Sengkubak as a natural seasoning is simply by adding its leaves to vegetables or other dishes.

Sometimes just two or three leaves are enough to make the dish more savory and delicious.

However, it is not easy to propagate the Sengkubak plant. It cannot be grown from cuttings. Moreover, it has no seeds. The only way is to plant it from the roots that have already sprouted. Not easy.

The price of Sengkubak per seedling

In such a way, in my village in the Jangkang sub-district, Sanggau regency, West Kalimantan, the price of Sengkubak per seedling in a polybag is Rp 35,000.

It is not impossible that someday we will find Sengkubak sold freely in the market, which has been processed into a ready-to-use seasoning. Similar to MSG or other seasonings, like Masako, for example.

The name Sengkubak in various languages

People call this climbing plant Dayak MSG.

However, among the Dayak ethnic groups, the names of this natural seasoning plant vary. For example:

Jangkang (Bidayuh, Mualang): engkubak Ma'anyan: rungkai Simpang: sengkubak Bahau Busang (East Kalimantan): itun meke Kanayatn: sansakng Dayak Ot Danum, Central Kalimantan/West Kalimantan: sokai Dayak Kapuas/Kahayan, Central Kalimantan: sungkai Dayak Kantu': sengkubai Latin: Pycharrhena cauliflora (miers).

It is a plant belonging to the family manispermaceae. Whatever its name, this natural seasoning belongs only to the Dayak people.

(Rangkaya Bada)

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