Thursday 23 May 2013

Nature into Culture

My garden harvest of pegaga, sambung nyawa, 
daun kari, daun selasih, and wild Pepperomia   

Michael Pollan said "Cooking is how we transform nature into culture".  He is also the man who famously said, "Eat food, not too much. Mostly plants". I say yes, we should eat a lot of plants ... but you need not even do any cooking to transform nature into culture. From our tropical edible garden we can have lots of herbal plants that translate into the ulam we all love so much. Just add a cicah (dip) - sambal belacan, budu, cincaluk, even nuoc mam!

From my own little garden my ulam platter may consist of pegaga (Indian liverwort), daun kari (curry leaves), daun selasih (Basil leaves), beluntas, ulam raja, wild pepperomia, sambung nyawa, kadok, mint, bunga kantan (Torch ginger), mengkudu Siam.

Not only do we eat plants, we flavour our food with plants (pandan, vanilla, etc.), we wrap some of our food in leaves, and we can also eat off leaves. Think nasi lemak daun pisang or banana leaf restaurants.

A banana leaf lunch at a restaurant in  Bangsar (CNB 2013)

7 April 2013

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