Bubur Pedas or Spicy Porridge is a speciality of the Sarawak Malays that is traditionally served for breaking of fast during the month of Ramadan.
The unique taste of the bubur pedas boils down to the multitude of ingredients used in its creation. In fact, the porridge is a complete meal. Nowadays this spicy porridge is cooked and served throughout the year and is a treat during family gatherings and other special occasions.
The wonderful thing about the porridge is that different meats and veggies can be added according to preference to further enhance its taste. The porridge is only limited by the cook’s imagination. However, it is best to start with the standard bubur pedas.
How to make Bubur Pedas
The most important ingredient in the spicy porridge is the homemade mumbu or paste. Uncooked rice is cleaned and rinse-dried and set aside. Coconut is grated and fry-dried to form the kerisik. Initially coriander, cumin, aniseed, cloves and cinnamon are heated in a wok without any oil for several minutes, then removed and pounded in a mortar with a pestle. This is set aside too. After which a little lemongrass, ginger, dried chillies, red onions and cloves garlic are sliced and dried together with tumeric powder and white pepper powder. This is added to the uncooked rice and pounded together with the coconut paste. All this is then mixed together with the rest of the ingredients to form the mumbu.
Only 300gm of the mumbu will be used to make the actual bubur pedas. As the name implies, the porridge is spicy, and to make it 10 dried chillies (soaked in water, drained and pounded) are used. A wok is heated. Cooking oil is used. Red onions (15), garlic cloves (8), the aforementioned chillies and dried shrimps (50gm) are added and browned. After that, the bubur pedas spice mixture is mixed with water to make a paste and added into the wok. Stir till well blended and fragrant. Sliced beef (500gm), cubed potatoes (100gm) are added to the long beans (150gm), lily flowers (100gm), dried bean curd (140gm), black fungus (50gm), vermicelli (100gm), turmeric leaves (12), sengkel leaves (5) which have all been finely sliced, is added to this, and all the ingredients are mixed well. Where necessary the ingredients can be soaked in warm water first to soften it. Coconut milk (from 1-1.5kg of grated coconuts) is poured in. The whole mixture is stirred occasionally under high to moderate heat until well cooked and the gravy slightly thickens. Use more milk if necessary. Salt is added to taste.
Today, like the famous Sarawak laksa, the paste of the bubur pedas is readily available throughout Malaysia. So those who would like to try this dish can easily find the mumbu and save time and effort preparing the porridge in the comfort of their own kitchen.