Kudor: A Distinctive Fruit Spice of Borneo

Appearance of kudor, a seasoning fruit of the Dayak people. Illustration by the author.

Borneo is endlessly narrated about. Its bowels hold treasures. Its biodiversity is extraordinary. Perhaps when God created the world's third-largest island, spanning 743,330 km², He did so with a smile.

One of God's rare creations in Borneo is fruit spices. Classified as spices, they come in a variety. Some are seeds, fruits, roots, bark, or other plant substances primarily used for seasoning or coloring food.

Spices are distinguished from herbs

Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leaves, flowers, or plant stems used as flavorings or garnishes.

Typically, we're familiar with non-fruit spices. But fruit spices are unique. And these fruit spices are distinctive to Borneo. They are round fruits, as big as an adult's big toe. Their skin is thin and easily sheds, yet they have a fairly thick shell to encase their densely packed contents. The color of their skin is a dark brown.

Their aroma is distinctive, a blend of several spices' scents - a mixture of garlic, pepper, and onions. It's sharp and penetrating.

Kudor fruit

The Dayak Jangkang, a branch of the Dayak Bidayuh, call these fruit spices "Kudor."

Kudor fruit spices have a long shelf life, as long as they are kept in an open, neither damp nor dry place. 

They can last up to a year. They can also be stored in the ground, but make sure none of their shells are cracked. If they crack, they will sprout unless you intend to plant them.

Typically, the flesh of kudor fruit spices is finely sliced when used to mix with vegetables. It's the Dayak's natural MSG. Just a bit is enough. If it's used as seasoning for mashed sweet potato leaves, it's delightful.

For other vegetable seasonings

Buah kudor (kudor fruit) can also be used for other vegetable seasonings, especially clear soups and other boiled vegetables.

Sometimes kudor is also used as seasoning for fried rice.

Apart from the fruit itself, kudor leaves can also be used as a seasoning for cooking.

- Rangkaya Bada

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