October 30, 2009

Kadok - wild betel leaves

Top photo: Miang Kham in a Thai restaurant.
Middle photo: This is my potted kadok with its luxuriant leaves.
Another serving of mian kham. Always order a platter of this when you visit a Thai restaurant.

Daun Kadok
Some time ago I discovered a small plant growing rather happily in my garden. At first I thought (very happily) that it was a sireh growing. I had thought of growing a garden full of kampong plants and lots of herbs too would be a good hobby but with six dogs it would be an impossible task.

However at a closer look and also checking with a friend the quick growing and quick spreading plant  is Daun Kadok. Now I have two good pots of it growing. One day I must organise a Thai Dinner for my friends starting with Miang Kham which requires daun kadok. My son who was then studying in KL first introduced me to this tasty snack when he took me to a lovely Thai restaurant in KL.

This plant, known as Daun Kadok in Malaysia, is often mistaken for its cousin Piper betel leaf plant. Daun Kadok is very popular and more widely used. Piper sarmentosum is often made into drink to relieve the symptoms of malaria. The roots could be chewed to stop toothaches. A portion made from its roots is said to be diuretic. The drink has also been known to be effective in treating coughs, flu, rheumatism, pleurosy and lumbago. daun kadok.jpg (10667 bytes)

Source: Malaysian Timber Council, Various Issues

Kadok is part of Miang Kham a tasty appetizer or snack from Northern Thailand.

Miang kam consists of fresh Piper sarmentosum or cha plu (ช้าพลู) leaves that are filled with some roasted coconut shavings and few small pieces of the following ingredients:

* Purple onion
* Fresh red or green chilli pepper
* Ginger
* Garlic
* Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) with its peel

Also one or two of the following items are added in each leaf:

* Roasted peanuts
* Dry small shrimp

After filling the leaf, a little coconut palm syrup containing Thai fish sauce (naam plaa) is poured on top. Then the leaf is folded and eaten whole. The origin of the name is in "eating many things in one bite"; from "miang" (เมี่ยง), meaning "food wrapped in leaves", and "kham" (คำ), "a bite".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Superman said...

Feel like Chinese Low Sang...hehe.

Ann said...

In one of the three residences I lived in NTU in Singapore, there were this plants. they grew as foliage. My friend from Penang used these leaves to line her plate as she cooked the Otah. It's not the Singapore Otah (Like bangan) but an open OTAH.

I too, thought it was LAU. (your sireh)

In Auckland, there is a native plant which is similar. The Maoris use it for cooking.

Have a good weekend.

Ann said...

Kawakawa - Macropiper excelsum

Hi CY,

Are these plants similar?

all3cool said...

I miss this food very much...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Superman - this is definitely Thai cuisine..but mind you Foochow like me can do also...after eating a lot of it in KL and Kedah...my West Malaysian friends from N also like it very much...
It is an ice breaker --- good before meal...you stretch your hands out and then fold the whole thing and pop into the mouth and laugh...and be merry!! So nice!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
Thanks for visiting. The plant in Singapore would most probably be Kadok. But I need to study the new Zealand version...it is definitely called the Wild Pepper to some people...may be a variety of it...like different mangoes and bananas...
Have a great day!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

When can we sit down for a Thai dinner in my house? I will be able to get a lot of kadok from a friend's house too...the more kadok the merrier we will be....
Kind thoughts of you always. God bless.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Kynan misses the Thai food too...

Bengbeng said...

i saw lots of this growing in the wild near Penang botanical Gardens. My mum loved it.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Kadok is easy to grow...they sprout every where and lay down their roots like potatoes and kang kong....I think Penang and Kedah would have the most kadok population.
A lot of Penangites love kadok. Some even claim that kadok can take the place of sireh....But the pinang eating friends will kill me for stating this....hahahahah

Sarawakiana@2 said...


I found out a little more. Your plant is a shrub whereas the wild pepper is a small creeper that is grown on the ground or in pot. It has small roots but very big leaves - more like the sweet potatoe. Little roots grow from its joints when they touch ground/earth.

Very crunchy when chewed. Tastes wonderful. When you go to Thailand next order maing kham...quite common in Penang and Kedah too. Unfortunately in some of the Sarawakian Thai food restaurant it is not offered.

By the way sometimes maing kham comes as a compliment dish when diners order up to a certain amount of food I heard.

Hope to see you soon.

Have a great week.

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