Pretty in pink…

I don’t know how many of you have seen this but it was the first time I ever saw one…

Torch ginger flower

Pretty, isn’t it? Well, if you’re an ignoramus like me, that’s the torch ginger flower or what we normally refer to locally as bunga kantan.

As far as I know, it is commonly used in Malay and Thai cooking and one West Malaysian colleague of mine once said that some dishes would never be complete without the bunga kantan. Tak best lah!

Torch ginger flower 2

However, we seldom used it in our dishes in the past and as a matter of fact, my missus did not like the smell at all. She still doesn’t but does not mind it as much as before.

But what I would see at the market and in some dishes that I’ve eaten before would be the bud and I had never seen it bloom before, not until now.

Torch ginger flower 3

I hear that if you do not stick it in water and leave it to shrivel up, you will be able to get some very nice dried flowers…but I’ve yet to see those so I can’t tell you exactly how true that is.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

25 thoughts on “Pretty in pink…”

  1. LOL… I’m very familiar with this… bunga kantan. Grew up with it, in fact. My late grandma used it in alot of her cookings.

    My mum would use it in her laksa penang as well. I… on the other hand, used to use thinly sliced dried bunga kantan in my potpourri mix. Used to make potpourri mix with bunga kantan and dried roses when I was still living with my parents and put it in almost every corner of the house. LOL… you can do wonders when you have a garden, Cikgu. If only I have a garden now… I’d grow so many things in it! LOL. Used to love to plant roses, but if i have a garden now,I’d probably grow edible things. Saves me the groceries. LOL!

    Should be familiar to many over there as commonly used in cooking. 1st time I’ve seen it. My lengkuas also has a bud…don’t know it it will flower or not.

  2. beautiful.. like what cleffairy said, i think i see this often in the penang laksa?
    First thought when I saw the picture, i was wondering, hey is this a fruit art?

    Oh? Looks like those Thai carved watermelon eh?

    1. Yeap, i think they carve those to mimic this flower? 😛 I have some pictures of those carvings, but it was some random shots, plan to use it in my blog when the time comes if I’m short of ideas/materials XD

      Ya…I always thought those watermelon carvings were very nice – now only I do realise that they’re of the bunga kantan. Gee! We learn something new every day, don’t we?

  3. edible flowers??
    i have heard about that bougainvillea as a perfect salad… just dunno know how it tastes

    Yes, these are eaten. I hear in Thailand, they use flowers to make nice salads.

  4. Love this in my Tom Yam & nasi goreng Thai 😀

    Haven’t actually cooked with it thought I’ve eaten stuff with it inside some place before. Must give it a try some day.

  5. i doesn’t really this. but it makes the dish so fragrant! love and hate relationship tsk.

    You’re like my missus. She couldn’t stand it but I think she’s beginning to learn to eat it now.

  6. I love it. First time I’m seeing it full bloom too. My friend’s mom used it in a prawn dish. She cooked it with thai chilli sauce and mayonnaise.

    Thai chili sauce and mayo? That makes it something like Thousand Islands, but pedas? Plus bunga kantan some more? That’s an odd combination? Nice? Why don’t you cook it and share it in your blog? Then we can hop over and look-see and learn… 😉

  7. Sure its pink color? Ooops hahaha. Have never seen torch ginger flower in full bloom before until I visited * My Nice Garden* . Kindly go to the link, drop by her blog, its very informative with nice & lovely pixz from seeds to flowers and 2 videos of 2 different kind of birds feasting on the nectar of the torch ginger flower. Have a nice weekend.

    Oh? Whose blog is that? Mango kah? I’m not into gardening (That’s hard work! LOL!!!)…just that I don’t mind appreciating nice flowers…but I prefer things that are edible. Muahahahaha!!!!

    1. Adoi!!!You and your “how chiak-ness” nom nom nom…hahaha. No lah belongs to one sweet blogger from Klang who has great green fingers and who is into photography and gardening, writing articles for mag and newspaper.

      Wah! Professional writer lah! Wah! Bananaz friend with all the big shotsand famous people… Shy lah I, small fry like me… 😦

  8. wah, i never seen one in full bloom and i surely never thought it is that beautiful! how did you come across it? i suspect each one of the flower i ever see would’ve ended up in some cooking already XD

    I guess so. They are sold in buds at the market and those would be the only ones we would get to see…unless we plant our own.

  9. Hello there, Miss Ignoramus here. I know of the bunga kantan as a bud and it’s often used in laksa, nasi ulam and some nyonya dishes. Love the smell and taste actually. But have never seen it bloom like that. That’s lovely.

    Hehehehehe…safety in numbers but it certainly looks like there are more than just the two of us.

  10. Normally, the ones sold in market are only buds. 1st time see it bloom. Pretty nice. BTW, does it has aromatic smell like lemon grass. Never use in my cooking. Wonder how’s the taste if we add it in our cooking. Very strong smell or not hor.

    I would say it has an erotic…oops, I mean exotic fragrance that may be to some, an acquired taste. Many love it but some don’t – including my missus. Like those coriander leaves or daun ketumbar (wan sui or what it’s called) – the type they put on top of Kuching laksa and serve. That, to many people (not originally from Kuching) would smell like cockroaches. You find that in popiah also… I didn’t use to eat that but now, I’ve learnt to – though not really crazy about it. I know somebody in Sibu, when making popiah, would ask for it to be sent from Kuching!

    1. Yucks!…wan sui…never like it but “king chai” (daun sup)…I like. My hub and daughter love wan sui in their laksa. For me and my son, No thanks!………

      Oh? I thought ALL Kuching people love it! Cockroach smell… LOL!!! 😀

  11. So lovely, isn`t it? I only come to know about this here in malaysia 🙂

    You’re not from Malaysia? Gee! All this while, I thought you’re in KL or something. Well, if you want to know more, you can click the link to go and read up more about it in that blog – a lot of info and photos there.

  12. Ou, I love cooking with flowers. I hope I’d come across this one day.

    You do? Never cooked any flowers…other than durian flowers. This one’s more of a herb to give the dish the exceptionally special fragrance e.g. in cooking tom yam. I hear they eat it but I’ve never tried it myself.

  13. the stalk is familiar .. didn’t know the bunga kantan can blossom till it is so “sexy”… hahaha…

    Like a hidden beauty eh? Waiting to be discovered… LOL!!!

  14. wow this is really beautiful. It’s my first time seeing it bloom too/

    The first time for so many of us. All the time, we saw those Thai watermelon carving…and we did not even know it was this flower – just thought it was so nice.

  15. used to plant these in my backyard. Until the gardener destroyed it – mum told him to trim the plant as it was overgrown, but he lopped the whole thing off and pulled it out by the roots! D-uh!

    Not going to plant this. I read somewhere it takes up a lot of space. Must be something like lengkuas – it grows out of control…and so hard to get rid of it. 😦

  16. It looks really promising!

    I haven’t cooked with this (or any other flower) before, what do you do with it?

    Is it meant as a flavor enhancer or condiment or can you actually use it as a main ingredient?

    It would be nice to cook up a batch of ginger flowers. 🙂

    So far I’ve only heard of people using the bud in stuff like tom yam or Penang laksa for the fragrance/flavour. Never heard of people actually cooking it and eating it. The source where these flowers came from – she said she tried cooking them to eat but commentd that it wasn’t anything to shout about…

  17. If you dont use it for cooking, bunga kantan also makes nice sambal… the smell is what it’s good for.

    Ok, point taken. Thanks. Must try it sometime. 🙂

  18. I hv seen bunga kanta’s bud, but nvr the bloming flower… wow, it’s so beautiful!

    It certainly is. 🙂

  19. Wow, didn’t know the bunga kantan is so pretty when in full bloom. Lovely pic, nicely taken.

    I didn’t either…and looks like there are so many of us. 😉

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