November 13, 2011

Midin (Fern Tops)

Years ago most urban dwellers sneezed at the humble midin. It was a jungle vegetable. It was as freebie available on the fringes of suburbania and no man's land around the villages. Native women in sarongs plucked them. The jungle midin was well jungle food. I remember some of my uncles would say that when they were destitute during the Japanese Occupation they HAD to go to the jungle to look for free midin. So it was like a kind of vegetable for desperadoes. But I did like the soup they could make out of midin when I was young..the poor food gatherer's soup - midin floating in the bowl of hot blank gingery hot soup with a dash of red wine and some pepper!

Today the discerning and environmentally conscious foodies are keen on jungle and organic vegetables. One dish that has become very popular in Sarawak is the Midin or jungle fern. It is even the first dish many would request in a restaurant. Times have changed. People have changed.

My friend Yi Fang's mother moved into a house on the verge of the swampy jungle in Dong San Road many years ago. She found an unusual bush of midin growing outside her house. Ever since then this little bush has been giving them endless greens!! According to Yi Fang the more her mother plucks the midin the more the bush will grow....

It was a fortunate day for me for I have never seen the seed pods of the midin in my life!! Have you?

A beautiful "curl" of a young fern. Less than a day old.




A fern top popping through a fence.
Slightly more than a day old fern top
This is perhaps two days old

Young seeds popping upe="text-align: center;">
More than three days old.
Young seeds popping up.
Red seed pods growing from a stem..amonst very old fern leaves.




And for this fern I can become a food gatherer any time.

p/s...there is a farm in Miri where some Foochows have experimented on growing midin and perhaps that will be another posting in the future!! So watch this space!

20 comments:

Ann said...

give me some,

so these are seed pods, seen plenty, but didn't know what they were.

I was a San Ba girl, so we always went to pick the,

Anonymous said...

If going up Ali Mountain (Alisan), we can eat this kind of mountain vegetables. They taste very good.

Ann said...

I took the mosque photo in Brunei inside a moving bus, so a lot of the photos were wasted.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...yes I know how much many of you would love to eat a plateful of this now!!

love and cheers.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Anonymous..yes I have seen the mountain ferns of Taiwan and I have also tasted the salted ferns of Yunnan and Guizhou!! Wonderful.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann ..yes I have lots of experience taking photos from a moving vehicle...more often than not!!

Some successful..some not at all..I usually get a tree which is out of focus or a lamp post!! Wasted...sigh. sigh.

Anonymous said...

indeed the midin andpaku were growing wild among the jungle growth and free for the picking....our family had lots of them cooked in sambal belacan...but now is almost extinct cos of the clearing land for housing developement...so much organic can be found in those days if one really looks for them..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous. Yes I love the idea of the midin growing wild and free for the picking.

I do wish that we can continue to have free midin forever!! May be someone would go and save the seeds for the future like the British. (They showed their skills in the Shanghai World expo..very impressive).

thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

i dont really dare to go pluck midin - scare of snakes .
- ah Ngao

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ahhhhhh Ah Ngao...You are a real chicken...Think of all those Iban ladies who go barefooted to the jungle...and you pay only 1 ringgit for a bundle...

Anonymous said...

mmmm....ya lah ho( i admit - * kokkk ,kok,kok...kok!* hehehe

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao...you are so hilarious!! kok kok...

sarawaklens said...

we have a few midin bushes in the front yard. they're actually quite decorative.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Sarawaklens..I am now more determined to go and grow my own midin bushes!! Yes I am sure they are very decorative!!

Qiztina said...

Im the one took midin in jungle 4 sale. Rm8 perkg..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Qistina

RM8 is a good price!!

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