Wild and free…

I guess we have all kinds of ferns growing wild and free all over the country but not all ferns are edible…

Wild ferns

The most common one to land on our dinner table would be the paku

*recycled pic*

…and if I’m not mistaken, over in the peninsula, most people would use it to make kerabu or some kind of sourish raw local salad but on our part, most  of the time, we would fry it with belacan (dried prawn paste) and hay bee (dried prawns and chili…

Fried paku
*recycled pic*

…the same way we would cook midin

Fried midin
*recycled pic*

However, while paku grows in the wet and damp primary forest, midin may be found in the belukar (secondary undergrowth) among the lallang (tall grass) and what not that sprout out where an area of land has been cleared…


…and it is up to anybody to go and pluck them to cook and eat.

I took these photographs at a vacant piece of land near my parents’ house that has been left idle for sometime. I guess anybody living in the vicinity can just go and help themselves to the midin but these are the red or green leafy ones which are not as popular as those curly ones served at restaurants. If you buy these at the native produce market in town, they are much cheaper – maybe by half.

These slightly hairy and curly ferns are edible too…

Wild fern

…and cooked in the same manner but they are a bit bitter and are thus, not as popular and very much cheaper.

Of course we have several other ways of cooking these ferns…and for one thing, as they grow wild and free, they are pesticide-free and healthier unlike many of the cultivated vegetables, be they local or imported.