The Melanau people (ethnic tribe) is closely associated with the sago palm. It was their staple food and the mainstay of their economy. Over time, it has developed into an industry. The Melanau people make full use of sago, including eating its worms.
Tebaloi is a sago cracker of the Melanaus. We visited a small cottage house in Kg. Tutus Hilir where a Melanau family has been operating this business for twenty years over three generations.
First, mix the dough, which includes sago flour, desiccated coconut, eggs and sugar. After that, place the dough on top of a large piece of banana leaf, and flatten it with a rolling pin. Then, place this banana leaf with the flattened dough on top of hot amber, for about twenty minutes. Remove it, and cut to size, about 4in X 4in each, and then air them, for added crunchiness. Then place a heavy block on top of the crackers to further flatten them.
Sago crackers (tebaloi) are sold at RM1 to RM1.30 per packet for four or five pieces per packet. There are five flavours: original, pandan, tumeric, Milo and strawberry.
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