Koling-Koling, traditional Bajau food of Sabah

Koling-Koling
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Great food makes our tongues happy. Koling-Koling does that and it also WOWed me when I first saw it in a food exhibition of Sabah Fest 2015 last week. Koling-Koling (or Bangi-Bangi) is a traditional food of Bajau people from Semporna town. At first impression, Koling-Koling may not look so appetizing because it looks like worm, but it’s the interesting shape that piqued my curiosity.

Koling-Koling (or Bangi-Bangi)
Pic: Koling-Koling, even the name sounds amusing

I was so eager to see how this curly slim bread was made. Aunty Badriah Makling, a friendly Bajau elder from Semporna was happy to demonstrate the art of making Koling-Koling (Thank You!). Below is a short video of the process if you prefer video over photos.

waiting for the oil to boil
Pic: Aunty Badriah Makling waited for the oil to boil

Koling-Koling is usually served during festivals, wedding and banquets. It tastes better while it’s hot, so it is not so commonly sold even in Semporna. The key ingredients for recipe of Koling-Koling are 1 Kg of rice flour mixed with 4 eggs and a bit of coconut milk, sugar and flour (too much flour will make it bloats like a donut). Stir the mixture until it becomes gooey batter.

get ready for making Koling-Koling
Pic: oil is hot now, getting ready to cook.

Preparing the batter may be easy to you, the challenging part is the technique to create the right shape of Koling-Koling with bare hand, which requires some practices to perfect. Let’s see how she does it.

grabbing the material
pull it
pull it higher
First she grasped and pulled a portion of the sticky batter to the air.

making Koling-Koling
shaking Koling-Koling to ball
Then she quickly grabbed a half-handful of batter from the air and shaked it swiftly to turn it into a small ball in her palm. She was smiling in the photos because I said she was too fast and I had to keep retaking the shots.

dropping flour into the hot oil
making Koling-Koling
cooking Koling-Koling
Next she held her fingers together with a small opening at the tip (like snake head) and positioned her hand over the hot oil. When the batter flowed out, she moved her hand as if she was drawing a horseshoe on the oil. It’s harder than it seems. Beginners will get batter flowing out all over between the gaps of their fingers and unable to make the right shape.

frying Koling-Koling
Koling-Koling in boiling oil
Koling-Koling almost done
serving Koling-Koling hot
The last step is to deep-fry Koling-Koling front and back until it turns golden brown color. It takes about 20 seconds to make one Koling-Koling. The cooking process is really fun to watch.

Koling-Koling, the food of Bajau people from Semporna
content of Koling-Koling
Four pieces of scrumptious Koling-Koling is only sold for RM1 (≈US$0.30). The bread has a slightly chewy skin but soft inside. It’s sweet with bread-like texture, but finer and less airy. I like its nice aroma and it’s not too sweet and oily.

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

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  • hi.. you got a very amazing photos.. u took it all ? you are so noughty.. anyway you got what i know as “anjakan pradigma”;)

  • Thank you. Yes, I took them all. 🙂

    Photography is harder than what I thought. The photos you see in my site is only 20% of my works, as the rest are not so presentable.