Saturday, September 4, 2010

The forgotten herb - Kencur

The kencur plant growing at A's place - look at the flower!

I had lots of problems remembering the name of this herb. A gave one of these to me during our first cooking class - the otah making class. I was tasked to grow it well and propagate it so that I can distribute some to my fellow classmates.

Kencur, also called Kaempferia galanga or sand ginger is a member of the ginger family. It is sometimes also called the Lesser galanga, although that is supposedly not correct. Some sources state that lesser galanga should refer to Alpinia officinarum, a cousin of kencur.

Kencur is widely used in Indonesian cooking, especially in Balinese cuisine. It used to be very much used in Peranakan cooking but nowadays, it is not so commonly available in the markets and hence used.That is why A grows it in her home - she can't find any in the markets!

The root is strongly aromatic and has medicinal property. Both the root and the leaves of kencur can be used in cooking.

During the otah making class, we some added finely sliced some kencur leaves into the otah mixture. Apparently, it can also be used as a flavouring for stir-fried dishes.

My favourite part about this plant, is that it seemed to be able to grow and propagate itself under my care. So far, I've had no luck with any kind of edibles. They grow, flourish somewhat and then die off.

I'm looking to this plant to break that trend.

Look, it is growing pretty well, isn't it? I am growing it in partial shade and it has been shooting out new leaves regularly.

*fingers crossed*

This plant has grown from a little plantlet to this.. 
I need to find a bigger pot for it soon!


Anonymous said...

I think this plant is also known as 'daun cekur' locally. I used to grow lots and lots and lots of it but didn't like the taste of the leaves.

You can actually head down to that wet market near Little India (not sure if it's Tekka Market, but there should be only one wet market there) and ask around the stalls selling vegetables. They sell these pretty frequently, I think, and for very cheap rates. I got one bag of don't know how many rhizomes for like $3 or so...


Open Kitchen Concept said...

hi Sky, hehe.. you are an expert! Anyway, yes you are right.. I think Tekka market has them... and also gotu kola.. I have to get those soon.. my old pot has died..

Anonymous said...

Ooh, okays. I hope you get them then. =)


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