January 24, 2016
Sarawakian Local Delights 10: Paku or Wild Fern
In the cooking of the indigenous wild fern called paku, the most important ingredients must be "well fried and crispy" the Iban chef told me. She also told me that one must not spare the cooking oil It shoud be about a small bowl!! And the other secret tip is the use of boiling water when necessary when the fern is wilted in the kuali. The kuali must not be covered as it would turn the fern yellow.
And indeed when she finished her demonstration, the fern dish was green, crispy and tasty.
She also said that it was not necessary to add any ikan bilis (dried fish) as what she used would be enough to bring out the natural taste of the ferns.
This brings to mind some spiritual thoughts.
The well sliced onions, garlic and ginger remind us how well and carefully we must prepare our youth for work, each one must be grounded in our principles.
The oil refers to the basic truths and main values of mankind..
The ferns refer to our total work for the world.
And finally the hot water represents added encouragement, moral support given to any work like social service, church work, government service, teaching ,etc. One must never pour "cold water" on any one who is trying her best.
I would also like to use the metaphor of an uncovered wok to represent work which need not be hidden, as work must be seen and be transparent. When the general public has a good view of on going work, or work in progress, they will be able to see what is going on and be touched.
At the end of the cooking demonstration I was touched by the fact that God's given fern, which is free from the jungle, has a place in the centre of the table for all to partake and enjoy.
The result of our work is indeed something worthy of praise. And you feel so thankful to God for his gift to us.
But on the other hand all of us must try our best to bring out the best taste by using good ingredients, careful thoughts and well executed steps.