We didn’t know…

Gosh!!! All my life, I thought we planted kunyit (turmeric) for the tuber for use in our cooking and I had some with very big leaves that I used to wrap fish for cooking what we call pa’is ikan. Eventually, it grew a little bit too crowded so I transplanted some at another place – where my missus planted it a long long time ago and it did not do very well (we were both working then and did not have much time to tend to our plants) – and there, it flourished too.

That day, I decided to trim it a little, more specifically to get rid of the old withered leaves and some of those small ones sprouting out to give the rest more breathing space, so to speak. Imagine my surprise when I spotted, hidden among the leaves, a flower…

Kunyit flower 1

We did not know that the kunyit plant will blossom…and a few days later, I spotted another one…

Kunyit flower 2

…and this looked like another one yet to bloom…

Coming soon

I did share a photograph of it on Facebook and some friends commented that the flowers would be good for ulam, eaten with sambal belacan or used to cook asam prawns. I’ve yet to do anything with them but I did go and google for recipes – it looked like all of them only used it to make kerabu.

I also had to trim my serai (lemon grass)…


…the other day. I have to do this very often and very regularly as it grows really well. In the past, I would harvest the stalks of serai and send them to my favourite Thai restaurant here but it has since closed down. This time around, I ended up with around 50 big fat stalks (I just threw away the thinner ones) in my freezer.

I used to throw away the leaves but not anymore. These days, I pick the fresher, greener leaves and tie them up nicely to put in my kitchen cabinets. It is believed to keep away lizards and cockroaches and yes, it has been said also that serai scares mosquitoes away.  As for the rest of the leaves, I cut them into short lengths and spread them out under the plant. It will help fertilise the soil and of course, the top cover will prevent unwanted weeds from sprouting out all over.

This is from my current batch of ulam raja – it has started flowering…

Ulam raja flower

They grew out of the seeds from the plants in the previous batch – my missus got a lot of seeds from a friend but they did not grow so well. I think in the end, I only got four or five plants but those produced enough seeds to reproduce so many seedlings. Just like my kunyit, I had to get rid of the smaller and thinner ones to give space to the selected few to grow and flourish…and when I pluck any for our ulam, I would pick the nice young leaves to enjoy and leave the bigger and harder older ones untouched.

Gardening can be so therapeutic – when you see your plants doing so well, you will feel so happy, so satisfied…and all that exercise every morning, all that sweating is good too.

Author: suituapui

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

8 thoughts on “We didn’t know…”

  1. Gardening needs a lot of patience too, a pity that I do not have green thumbs

    It sort of grows on you. Initially, everything that I planted died.

  2. My lemon grass are growing well too and they look messy if not trim. Like you, I cut the leaves and spread them under the plants to make fertilizer as I was told but have yet to try to put them in the cabinet to keep away cockroaches. Thanks for the tips.

    Been doing that for a while now. Pandan leaves work too, they say…but when all dried up, no more smell, better remove and put new ones – they say those pests will make their nests in the leaves.

  3. Agreed with you, gardening is therapeutic. I seldom do nowadays but when I tend to my garden and weeding, it feel good and satisfying. Lol.

    I never seen turmeric flower before.

    Neither have I, first time. Never heard of it even!

    I do my gardening from the break of dawn till around 9 or 10, depending on the sun. Once it gets hot, I will stop. Of course, when it rains, I will not be able to do much.

  4. Wow, the flowers are beautiful! I would like to find some time and some space to do some gardening. It must be so rewarding to be able to grow your own food.

    Yes, there are many things that I do not have to buy from the market or the shops anymore. I feel like trying my hand at planting ginger, may just get down to it one of these days.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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