Johor's exotic eggs

Golden halves of Telur Pindang
In bygone days when there were no convenient R & R rest-stops for refreshments along the way, travellers usually carried a parcel of packed food on long journeys. 

One of the favourite fast-foods of travellers in Johor must Telur Pindang, a handy hardboiled egg cooked for hours in a variety of herbs and spices with a month long shelf life.  As travelling with packed food is quite uncommon today, these exotic eggs are now usually presented to guests as Bunga Telur at special occasions like Malay weddings.

Guests at Malay weddings will usually receive Bunga Telur as a token of appreciation for gracing their special day but it’s a Johor tradition to use Telur Pindang instead of ordinary hardboiled eggs.  Using Telur Pindang as Bunga Telur is considered a little more prestigious because a great deal of work, time and effort go into the preparation of these eggs.  Its elaborate preparation, unique appearance and taste make these eggs extra special and very often, guests refuse to leave until they receive these exotic eggs!

Siti Sahruliza Bte Karim
Siti Sahruliza Bte Karim, 23, explained how her mother, Mismah Bte Abu, 48, has a family recipe for Telur Pindang and has mastered the art of cooking 100’s of eggs for each special event.  Mismah is the daughter of Abu Dakam, a traditional herbalist in Batu Pahat who started a family business, producing and selling traditional massage oil and dried medicinal roots and herbs.  Using the brand name, Warisan Dakam, the business now operates as Syarikat Perubatan Tradisional WD Sdn Bhd.

The preparation of Telur Pindang begins with the selection of the finest quality farm-fresh eggs.  These eggs are then washed and readied for boiling in a brew of herbs and spices over a period of at least 3 days.  

This special concoction is made from herbal leaves with local names like, Daun Senduduk, Daun Manggis (mangosteen leaf), Daun Jambu Batu (guava leaf), Daun Bebuas, Daun Serai Wangi (lemongrass), Daun Salam, Daun Limau Purut (kaffir lime leaf), Daun Lengkuas (wild ginger leaf), Daun Pandan and onion and garlic skins.  

The recipe also uses a blend of spices that include coriander, ginger, wild ginger, onions, cinnamon, caraway seeds, white cummin, aniseed, ground chillies, curry powder, salt and soy sauce.

Some of the ingredients in recipe
to make Telur Pindang
There’s even a method to prepare the pot for cooking these eggs.  Firstly a layer of herbal leaves will line the base of the huge cooking pot before a layer of raw eggs are gently arranged and a layer of blended spices evenly distributed over it.  Each layer of eggs will alternate with a layer of herbal leaves, garlic and onion skins and a layer of spices.  The spices also act as natural preservatives to give the eggs long shelf lives.

Then the pot will be filled with enough water to cover all the eggs and put to boil for up to 2 and a half or 3 days to get the eggs evenly cooked and coloured.  It’s more economical to use wood fire for such long cooking hours, so the fire must be constantly fed and the right water level carefully maintained.  At the end of 3 days, the brew is left to cool before the eggs are removed from the pot of mushy leaves.  

While Siti Sahruliza and her family are actively involved with the promotion and sale of Warisan Dakam traditional herbal products at Agro Tours, they also seize the opportunity to showcase Telur Pindang as a uniquely Johor tradition. 

They put up an interesting display of the ingredients for the recipe, a cooking pot filled with cooked eggs in the brown brew of herbs and spices, and with plenty of eggs for sampling while Siti Sahruliza answers curious questions and explain the tradition of Telur Pindang to tourists.  From the enthusiastic queries and how tourists eagerly crack shells to eat the eggs, it was clear that everyone enjoyed the agreeable taste and texture of Telur Pindang. 

Herbal brew of Telur Pindang in the pot
Natural colours from boiling guava and senduduk leaves will stain the eggs and turn shells into a dark brown colour while rich flavours from the variety of herbs and spices are infused into the Telur Pindang.  Under the shell, egg whites are tinged light brown and when split in half, the yolk shines with a golden glow. 

The versatile Telur Pindang can be eaten on its own as a snack or appetizer, or as a condiment with rice and noodles.  In fact, there’s medicinal value in eating Telur Pindang because senduduk leaves are traditionally used as a cure for diarrhea and to heal wounds.  

This Johor culinary tradition lives on as these exotic eggs continue to make their appearance not only at Malay weddings and special celebrations but are also featured in fascinating Johor Agro Tours.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Buzz in July 2009


  1. Hello Peggy Loh, I am Eve from Ochre Pictures. We are currently producing a documentary drama for Suria called Demi Cinta. Our show is about the preparation of Malay wedding. We are looking for some telor pindang photo for our show. It will be only 2-3 sec show time. We came across your blog and we are enjoying to read your topic. We would really appreciate if you can allow us to use your photos for our show. Your name/blogger title will be credited in our roller credits list.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Koo

  2. Hello Eve, Thanks for asking. Please go ahead to use my telor pindang photos in your docu-drama, Demi Cinta for Suria channel. Kindly credit the source as, My Johor Stories at