Sarawakian Localights: Ikan Enseluai

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Ikan Enseluai is known as Pang Ngii Chiang in Foochow meaning small fry . It is a delicious fresh river water fish loved by young and old in Sarawak.

In the olden days it was a good dinner whenever a father could net a small bucket full of this small, silvery fish. When deep fried everything could be eaten, the head, the tail and even the scales.

When visitors arrived at a long house it was not surprising that the host could take his net down to the river, cast it out and draw up a fair amount of fish. This was possible when the rivers were clean, and still in the pristine situation.

In recent years some lucky fishermen can still net some ikan enseluai in Sg. Merah. Sg Adong in Miri continues to produce the fish for many fishermen. In most ulu rivers this small fish can still be netted.

In Sarikei a fisherman has a very good recipe from his grandmother who taught him how to prepare a good salad with tepus. He hit the tepus stem with the back of a wooden ladle and added the “crushed” tepus to the deep fried ikan enseluai with sliced onions, garlic and chillies.

Squeezed lime juice added to the mixture makes it a great fish salad. The small fish can also be boiled and deboned for the salad if you prefer.

The fish can also be coated with a beer batter and deep fried.

God has provided a bountiful fish life in our rivers. It is our duty to keep our rivers in their pristine state.

By Changyi, Agape Grace Methodist Preaching Centre, Miri