I peeped into the boiling pot and asked the bibik what’s cooking. Pucuk manis.
What? I have not had that for decades. Pucuk manis and turi were two greens in our standard diet. We could not afford to buy any vegetables. Not even the humble taugeh. These greens were grown around the house.
The pucuk manis were usually boiled with a sprinkling of anchovies and chopped shallots. That was it. Simple and healthy. It was usually accompanied by a dash of sambal belacan and fried salted cencaru, tamban, gelama or cekek leher. No big stuff.
That perhaps explained for the lean feline that I still am.
It may also be cooked in coconut milk to make it sayur pucuk manis masak lemak.
With turi it is masak lemak . It is mandatory perhaps because of it bitterness. Kangkung or morning glory were grown in the pond behind the surau. Then there were the belinjau shoots. We still enjoy the belinjau masak asam. The pucuk keladi, or the young shoots of yam are also favourites for masak asam.
Ocassionally other types of “difficult to get” stuff became delicacies. Umbut or the coconut core shoot could be obtained if there were storms that victimize a coconut palm or the palm were felled to be used to construct the wedding penanggah or tent. Rebong were aplenty but the preparation was quite messy. So was nangka muda with the sticky gum.
I liked the young papaya cooked in black peppery clear soup. It has been ages. I must get someone to do this.
My all time favourite is the botok-botok. It is a real delicacy. It is a combinations of at least seven shoots and ketumbar, jintan and kerisik made into a paste. The shoots and paste are then used to wrap cutlets of fish. Tenggiri and parang are favourites. The funny thing is that it is better if the fish is no longer fresh.
When I visited my Uncle’s house in Kluang, the standard fare for the household was taugeh masak air and belanak goring. With seven sons, his primary teachers salary and no pucuk mnis, or pucuk ubi, or turi around the quarters, the humble taugeh were the perfect source of roughage and vitamins from greens.
Back to the pucuk manis that was on the stove, I had three helpings of the pucuk manis. The combination was perfect. Pucuk manis masak lemak and ikan tamban pais. Try it out.
I am just wondering if my children’s generation know how turi look like.