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Torch Ginger Flower

Trying to guess the above flower??

This is the Flower of Ginger – yes our very own Ginger which is one of the important and unavoidable spice, especially in Indian and Asian cuisines. It is called Bunga Kantan in Malay.

The first time I saw it in the Wet market – Pasar Siti Khadijah in Kota Bharu, I was mesmerized by its beauty and it’s lovely pink out shining so brightly among the green leafy veggies it was displayed with.. The more I stared at it , the more I was trying to Google it’s details in my white matter….. Alas! Neither my white nor my grey matter was of any help … I was desperate to find what flower it is and why was it kept with the veggies… Since Malay was all Latin to me at that time, I couldn’t grasp a dime of what the poor lady selling these was trying to tell me. Though I looked around for someone who could translate couldn’t find one and so I moved on thinking I will come with Ulagesh Akka next time to continue my research.

“I forgot to take a pic of that flower!” Later in the evening I was bugging Akka trying to figure out the name of the flower. I was thinking of Lotus as lotus roots are used extensively in South East Asian cuisine but …..

Now that I know it’s a Ginger flower my next mission was to find out the dishes in which it was used and what would be the taste. It’s at times as such when Technology is a major boon (compared to your white matter)… Googled and voila…

It’s one if the main components of Peranakan (Nyonya) cuisine. Peranakan /Nyonya are the Chinese who had migrated to, adopted and blended well into the Malay culture, binding both the cultures well together. The by product of these Chinese – Malay is the Peranakan culture. Their cuisines are very famous iconic Malay food and a feast to palette, especially for the Fish and seafood lovers. Ginger Flower is majorly used in the spicy, tangy and flavorful Assam Laksa made with fish, Assam Pedas and more. I also chanced upon some recent inventories as Ginger flower jelly. There is no limit to our innovations on how to use this wonderful flower to suit our taste, or maybe even a hot ginger flower infused bath!!

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