Bubur Paddas

Bubur Paddas A Fusion of Flavour and Togetherness from Sambas

Not Just Spicy, But Rich in Flavour

Unlike its name might suggest, “paddas” in the Sambas Malay language doesn’t translate to spicy. Instead, it refers to the richness of flavour created by the diverse vegetables and spices incorporated into this unique porridge. The actual spiciness comes from a balanced blend of pepper and chili flakes, complementing the overall taste without overpowering it.

History and Cultural Significance

Bubur Paddas has been an integral part of Sambas Malay culture for centuries. Originally, this dish was only served during royal events or ceremonial occasions. Over time, however, it transformed into a widely enjoyed food, symbolizing the spirit of unity and togetherness.

A Symbol of Community

The preparation of Bubur Paddas embodies the strong tradition of communal cooperation within Sambas communities. From parboiling the rice and coconut gratings to chopping vegetables, mixing spices, and finally serving the dish, everything is done together in a practice known as simbirapian.

Sharing Bubur Paddas with family and friends is also encouraged, expressing feelings of gratitude and fostering a sense of community. This spirit of togetherness is further reflected in the use of various spices that contribute to the rich flavour, mirroring the motto “same-same biak Sambas” which translates to “fellow perantau (migrants) of Sambas”.

Uniqueness and Flexibility

Bubur Paddas boasts a texture distinct from typical porridges. The rice is pounded until fine, then stir-fried and combined with an assortment of vegetables. The ingredients themselves are flexible; fern leaves can be substituted with other greens, yams with potatoes, and shrimp with beef, depending on preferences and allergies.

A Ramadan Favourite

Bubur Paddas is a beloved dish during the holy month of Ramadan. The combination of pounded rice, grated coconut, vegetables, and sweet potato is believed to effectively replenish stamina after a day of fasting.

The Distinctive Aroma of Kesum Leaves

Bubur Paddas is characterized by the unique fragrance of kesum leaves (Polygonum Odoratum), also known as Vietnamese mint, praew leaf, laksa leaf, or hot mint. Its slightly pungent aroma and tangy flavour add another layer of complexity to the porridge’s taste profile. Kesum leaves aren’t just used in cooking; they also hold significance in traditional Malay medicine for treating stomach and digestive ailments, typically consumed as a decoction.

More Than Just a Dish

Bubur Paddas transcends being simply a delicious meal; it’s an embodiment of the culture and traditions of the Sambas people. The harmonious blend of flavours and cultural significance makes it a special dish worth trying and preserving.

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