November 7, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights : Paku Uban

Sword Fern (Nephrolepis acutifolia) 

The Ibans enjoy eating paku uban or paku kubuk as part of their diet during their farming season. The fern tops can be easily plucked from the river side or at the edges of their padi fields.

White Hair Fern Tops or Paku Uban or Paku Kubuk is boiled with native red ginger and salt to help increase mother's lactation according to an Iban traditional belief. Hence during confinement many new fathers would go to the jungle to forage for this natural fern tops. Besides the vegetable is also good for every one in the family.

The red ginger also fastens the shrinkage of the womb from the pregnancy.

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This hairy fern grows alongside of paku pakis and is found by river banks all over Sarawak. However it is less popular than its cousins, paku ikan and midin, perhaps because of its hairy fronds and stems.

However the heads are very crunchy which at times may be bitter. Besides being boiled, it can be prepared as a salad to be eaten with spicy sambal belacan.

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It can also be stir fried with wild mushrooms from the jungle, thus making it an truly organic dish from the equatorial jungle.

It is already making its appearance in some indigenous cuisine outlets in Miri and Kuching. Stir fried quickly with wild torch ginger and dried anchovies it can become a very crunchy and appetising vegetable dish.

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