Monday Meal Review: Brunei

Thanks Brunei. You have lovely curries, interesting rice, and tasty vegetables. However, you have the most impossible dessert. I am both amazed and impressed that there are people who are able to make Getuk Lindri properly. I wish I was one of them. My family, while they appreciated my effort, barely took a nibble-taste and left the rest for the birds. Come to think of it, do birds eat yucca? Hmm.

Thank goodness I redeemed myself with Sayur Lodeh and Lontong. Together, these two dishes make dinner a special occasion, like eating out, but better – because we were at home.

Shrimp and Vegetable Curry (Sayur Lodeh) [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Rich, creamy curry made with coconut milk is my absolute favorite way to enjoy coconut (although I do love me some Spiked Coconut Water on a wicked hot day). Sayur Lodeh also has the benefit of being incredibly versatile. Any number of vegetables can be mixed in – why not try eggplant or loofah? A nice vegetarian option would be to stir in extra-firm tofu cubes, which is common in Brunei.

This dish is great for busy days if you make a big batch of Rempah spice mix ahead of time and freeze it in small portions. Then you can whip up Sayur Lodeh any time you want to.

What I liked least about this dish:

Coconut milk certainly goes straight to the waistline, but I don’t mind a little guilty pleasure every now and then. Everything in moderation…

To make sure your curry is extra tasty, check the seasoning after you add the shrimp. Although the shrimp will add a natural saltiness, you may need to add even more salt to keep the curry from tasting flat.  This is because thick coconut milk blankets the flavor of salt and usually requires heavy seasoning. Finally, be sure to use a large enough pan – the raw veggies take up a lot of room in the pan, and may need to be added in batches.

Curry Spice Mix (Rempah) [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

With a quick buzz-whirr of the blender, a giant batch of Rempah can be made and frozen in serving sizes. This brilliant yellow, mildly spicy curry is perfect for rushed weeknight dinners. Just drop a spoonful in your pan with oil, cook for a few minutes, then add veggies, coconut milk, water, or stock. Forget thirty minute meals, with a little planning ahead, dinner can be on the table in fifteen minutes.

What I liked least about this dish:

Not much. The flavor is intense, so just add as much Rempah as you want to your veggies. For some, this may be a teaspoon, for others this may be a quarter cup.

Rice Cooked in Banana Leaves (Lontong) [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

For starters, Ava was all about the lontong, gobbling it up as fast as she could. Each rice “coin” was bigger than her hand, but that didn’t stop her. Speaking of kid-friendly, lontong make great picnic food because they can be eaten at room temperature and aren’t messy. Rolling and stuffing the banana leaves also make for a fun, kid-friendly cooking activity. Finally, I love the grassy perfume the banana leaves add to the rice – and if the rice was cooked in coconut milk (which some people do) the flavor would be even more intense.

What I liked least about this dish:

I totally enjoyed lontong, but I did have to get used to eating rice room temperature. I also wish banana leaves were a little more accessible.

Cassava Balls (Getuk Lindri) [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

This dessert was a great idea, but I am definitely lacking the skill and technique to execute Getuk Lindri properly. At least the red and green food coloring gave the Yucca/Cassava balls a bright and cheery look, which was fun.

What I liked least about this dish:

Cassava is also called yucca. Like Yuck. Ok, ok. Maybe it’s not that bad. BUT, Getuk Lindri is very unusual and difficult to make. I fought and fought with my food mill to strain out all the tough plant fibers. At the end of the battle, the flavor was not very sweet, and very doughy. And because I had to make it a couple of times with little success, I am willing to bet I’ll never make it again. If anyone knows what I did wrong, please let me know. I’m a great student. I promise!

Ava’s Corner

This video just tickled my funny bone. Enjoy!


  1. I can’t believe that you are lacking the skill to execute getuk lindri properly. I have now looked at about ten different blogs and recipe sites on this dish and they all just said, mash the manioc. Not one of them said, this is really difficult, here’s a special trick, or something of that sort. One blogger did use an old fashioned meat grinder with a crank, which butchers used to make hamburger. So my guess is that the manioc you get in Tulsa isn’t like the manioc you get in Brunei, and by bad luck you got a stringy manioc, unsuitable for use.

    You should, instead of trying this again, simply try the yummy spectacular Malayan dessert called “ABC” which is easily made of shaved ice and syrup.

    • globaltable says

      ABC looks like a party on a plate 🙂

      You might be right about the manioc – but it looked just fine. I’ve made it many times before… even at the CIA.

      I think that those other blogs were just leaving out the agony they went through to simply “mash” the manioc. I bet they had tears, too. 😛

  2. Jessica Bennett says

    Assuming your husband reads this, you may not have as much luck adding mushrooms to your next dish. But I’ll gladly take his share 🙂

    I’m sorry you had trouble with the Getuk Lindri. I’d be really upset too (especially about the pasta maker). It sounded like it would be delicious.

    • KeithM says

      I’m still not a mushroom fan but I do tolerate them in most things. They’re just so squishy it creeps me out. 😛

      • Jessica Bennett says

        Mushrooms can be squishy 🙂 I find crimini the least squishy, especially if only cooked for a few minutes or eaten raw.

        It’s nice to hear how well you tolerate and even enjoy all the different food. I live with an extremely picky eater (he eats pizza, pasta, grilled cheese, burgers, bacon, donuts, and maybe a few other things on occasion), and I can only think of 2-3 times when he impressed me by eating something he’s not used to (the best was when he had seconds of my turkey sloppy joes- he’d refused turkey hundreds of other times but then learned if he put enough spice and cheese, it wasn’t so bad).

        • KeithM says

          Turkey? He refused turkey? That’s just strange. And who wouldn’t want want any meat in sloppy-joe form? Good luck with that guy. He’s a hardcore picky eater.

          • Jessica Bennett says

            Yeah, he’s a bit of a mess. He says turkey is “gamey”. But at least he finally tried it 🙂

  3. elisa says

    that video of course is the bomb! The rice cooked in banana leaves is perfect!

  4. It sounds like you are producing difficulties yourself by trying to solve this problem rather than looking at why
    their is really a issue within the very first location

  5. Barb Clough says

    Loved these recipes (admit I didn’t make the dessert) – first time using lemongrass and shrimp paste. I’ve got a stash of banana leaves from one of the earlier recipes from another country. I made Rujak Brunei, spiced fruit salad, as my dessert – much easier! (can use as dipping sauce or mix with fruit, sprinkle with crushed peanuts & serve with ice cream!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.