Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Steps of Making Melanau Sago Pearl (Sagok)

3:16 AM

In this post we are going to discover the process of making Sagok. Sagok are cooked sago pearls made from Sago starch (Sei). The Melanau Consider it a staple food. Sago Palm (Metroxylon sagu) is fondly dubbed the "Tree of Life" by the melanau.
Seven Steps of Making Sagok

Kalau tidak dipecahkan ruyung, manakan dapat sagunya
Mun enda bibah Ungun, enda lah pekena sei

1. Tubeng Balau (Fell a Sago Palm)


The Sago Palm is felled. Palms are felled just before flowering, when the stem are richest in starch. One palm yields 150 to 300 kg of Starch.

2. Marut (Shredding of Sago Pith)


After removing the bark (Ungun) of the Sago Palm (Balau), the Sago Pith ( Sei Balau) will be placed on a Lagan. A Lagan is made of two tied logs with a small gap in between. A Shredder (Parut) will be then used to make Pou (shredded Sago Pith).

3. Menyak ( Extraction of Sagu Starch- Sei)


The Pou will be brought to the extraction house called Nyanan ( also known as Jagen). There the Pou will be placed onto an Idaih (a mat made of Nypa leaves).

The Pou will be mixed with water from the river, which drawn up using a Terusueng (a conical bucket made of Sago Palm Frond- Ukap balau).

The extraction is done by trampling and kneading the wet Pou barefoot. This produces a mixture of water and raw sago starch (Sei). This mixture will be collected in a settling container called Jalur. After the Sei have settled on the bottom of the Jalur, a small hole at the end of Jalur known as Serebut will be opened to drain all the water out.

Nyanan (Jagen)- Photo by: Souhusin- Album: Mukah Subet Sagok

Photo: Construction of a Nyanan (Jagen)

Photo: Construction of a Terusueng

4. Mela'uek (Cleaning of Sei)


The Sei at the bottom of Jalur will be collected and placed on a Tapih (cheese cloth) which is placed on a Salui (boat). The Sei is washed and strained many times and any impurities will be removed.

5. Mengulud ( Kneading of ingredients for Sago Pearl )

Photo: Two Ladies are doing the Mengulud process

The Raw Sago Starch (Sei) will be mixed with shredded Coconut (Benyuh Parut), rice bran (Dabou Padai) and salt to taste (Sia). The Mixture will be knead on a special Nypa mat called Kejangan. The Kneading process is done by rolling the mixture repeatedly on Kejangan. This Kneading process is called Mengulud.

6. Mengugoh ( A Process to pearl Sago Starch)


After Mengulud, the mixture will be sift (Mengugoh) using a Takueang (Colander) that is suspended by a rope. This forms the mixture into small round grain.

7. Mu'ui (Cooking of Sago Pearl)


The raw sago pearl are cooked on an clay oven called Belanga. The raw sago pearls must be spread occasionally for them to cook evenly. The cooked Sago pearls are let to cool down and then stored in tight container. The end product look brownish and are called Sagok and can be eaten with smoked fish (Jekan Ipuong), Umai (raw fish salad) or with curry gravy (Keliseh).

The Sago

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