Another Tukang Rantek StoriesThe Art of “Ngundah Pangkang”

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. Today I’d like to share about some of the process of “ngundah pangkang” (making “pangkang”), where “pangkang” is one of Bidayuh’s delicacies.

We usually serve it to our guests during festive seasons, especially “Andu Gawai” (Gawai Day) on 1st of June and during there is a huge social gathering such as wedding, engagement or sometimes funerals.

Pangkang-making process is not easy, hence it is only done during special occassion. 

“Pangkang” is also known as “pogang” by Bidayuh Bau (Singai, Jagoi, Bau) community. In Iban, it is known as “asi pulut” (something I learned from my recent visit to Sg Langit, Betong). 

In simple, “pangkang” is glutinous rice cooked in bamboo.

First timer might confuse it with lemang, but it is a different food compared to lemang, or “lamang” as it is known by Bidayuh. To say “pangkang” is Bidayuh version of lemang is not accurate because Bidayuh also have its own version of “lemang”, known as “lamang”. 

In short, “pangkang” is not “lamang”.

How to differentiate? “Lamang” has banana leaves, while pangkang doesn’t have. Pangkang is relatively portable because you can cut it into small pieces without having oily sensation afterwards, while “lamang” is not. Pangkang is also a good alternative to rice. 

In order to make pangkang, you would need glutinous rice and bamboo, a smaller kind of bamboo, with diameter less than 2 inches. Bidayuhs generally don’t use large bamboo for pangkang or lamang. Bigger bamboos are reserved for “pange'”, another variety of bamboo-based Bidayuh recipe. 

Glutinous rice or “sondoi” are soaked at least 5 hours (according to my family recipe). Some people used coconut milk, but we prefer it the traditional way, no “santan”, just good ol’ “sondoi” and some salted water.

The mixture is transferred into bamboo which then is plugged-off (sineseng) with pandan leaves. 

Para’ uhang

It is then brought to “para’ uhang”, which is Bidayuh’s for firewood place, a place where we do some heat-intensive business, such as making pangkang / lamang / pange’, though different family has different uses to it. My grandma places her firewood stockpile there. 

My grandma and some of her firewood stockpile. For Bidayuhs, bamboo plays a lot of important roles.

Para’ uhang can be very hot & produces a lot of smoke when making pangkang. Be prepared to have some water standby for any eventualities, or in professional term, have fire-watcher standby for open flame works. 

It takes a lot of swift hand-movement to prevent pangkang from being over-burnt, hence the need for an experienced personnel to do it. Once it is done, those burnt pangkang will be cooled before its black, outer skin is being shaved-off using knife of your choice, leaving a white cylinder, which is then cut into few shorter sections to be served to our guests. 

Completed “pangkang” (left) and Bidayuh’s “kitupat” (ketupat)

It is also often given to travellers or guests as part of their food to be consumed during their journey.

Your Tukang Rantek,
Claudius (Del)

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error: © Claudius Weson (2017 - 2024). All rights reserved.