When resident and landscapist Chris Parry designed Medini Edible Park, he made some fascinating plant choices. Here are fifteen unique plants currently grown in the park, as illustrated by Shufitri Shukardi.
The aromatic leaves of the kesum plant (Persicaria minor) is a must-have in laksa dishes as well as asam pedas. Kesum comes from a large family of plants under the knotweed family which also includes sorrel, buckwheat, rhubarb and Vietnamese coriander.
Widely consumed in Northeast and Southeast Asia, perilla (Perilla frutescens) produces pungent, serrated leaves commonly seen adorning Japanese and Korean dishes, but it has gained popularity locally for its unique flavour.
Popular around the world as an ornamental, ulam raja (Cosmos caudatus) is an edible plant which has long played a significant role in Malay cuisine. Best eaten with sambal and belacan.
This special variety of taro (Colocasia esculenta) is often grown for its attractive, purplish-black foliage. Like most other ornamental forms of taro, all parts of the plant is poisonous but can be made edible with proper preparation and cooking.
Native to Southeast Asia, the Thai basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a basil cultivar with a sweet and slightly spicy flavour. Better suited for longer cooking than regular sweet basil, Thai basil is very popular as a leaf vegetable and a condiment.
This creeper with clusters of pink flowers is a prolific seed producer that is both a food source and an ornamental. The coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) has seeds and flowers which have been consumed by Californian aborigines for centuries.
Closely-related to daisies rather than the tarragon, Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida) is favoured for its anise-flavoured leaves. Its leaves have been used in tea, incense-making and entheogenic exercises while its flowers add a dash of colour to any dish.
The fame of the drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera) continues to grow worldwide due to its health benefits and surprisingly many uses. Turn its leaves into a curry-based dish or utilise its flowers as edible decorations; there’s no wrong choices when it comes to the drumstick tree.
It may look like ginger leaf down but don’t be confused. The crepe ginger (Cheilocostus speciosus) also known as setawar in the Malay language has a long history with Romans and Indians for its medicinal uses. It was cultivated locally as early as 1778 for its medicinal qualities.
If it looks like an oval-shaped lime but tastes like a sour orange it’s probably the kumquat (Fortunella margarita). This small fruit packs a big blast of citrus within its delicious, sweet peel. Great eaten raw or preserved in marmalades.
The past 10 years has seen the acai palm (Euterpe oleracea) rise from obscurity to become one the most sought-after produce in the world. Acai-flavoured Absolut and dedicated frozen acai bars worldwide are testament to its antioxidant tally.
The sap of the kundang (Bouea oppositifolia) tree will irritate your skin but its fruit are worth the hassle. Not commonly found in urban areas, the kundang is a treat to seek outside of town.
Known elsewhere as carambola, the starfruit is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. It’s impossible to miss its uniquely-shaped fruits which are native to Southeast Asia and the Seychelles. The tree also has attractive flowers and make great ornamental plants.
This tree forms an important food crop in several parts of the world especially Indonesia. Emping is made from the seeds of the melinjau tree (Gnetum gnemon) while sayur asem is a soup made with the leaves and the seeds of the tree.
Native to Southern India and Sri Lanka, the firecracker flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis) once won an award from the Royal Horticultural Society for its performance in the British climate. Its flowers have been used in India as a herb in India.
Extracted from Kool, the official journal to Iskarnival Kool, distributed exclusively at Puteri Harbour from 25 – 26 November 2017. For more information on Iskarnival Kool and Iskarnival Aktif, make sure to check out www.iskarnival.com plus visit us on Facebook and Instagram!