Endangered Recipes Series.


Endangered Recipes refer to traditional recipes using wild, non-cultivated food plants as part of the cooking process.  These recipes are gradually being lost as society progresses and food is a matter of convenience and speed.  Most of these recipes use plants and herbs that have kept generations healthy for hundreds of years.


Young Papaya Leaves Salad


Take the shoots of papaya trees.  The shoots refer to that part of the tree that is growing new leaves.  You can break off up to 6 inches together with any regular leaves.  Note that if you do this to your tree that you have in your garden, it will start to branch and you will end up with fruits that are small and a tree with branches.  Your better half may not be too pleased.


Take half the amount of the papaya leaves of senduduk (Melastoma malabathricum) leaves, branches and twigs.  Senduduk is a bush growing wild by the road side with purplish flowers.  It is a traditional cure for diarrhea, for “woman problems”, and for wounds.  I will include a photo in the future.


Boil the papaya leaves with the senduduk leaves until the papaya leaves and stalk is soft.  Throw away the senduduk and the water. (The senduduk gets rid of the bitterness of the papaya leaves and its active ingredients are absorb into the papaya leaves).


Cut up the papaya leaves and stalk into serving portions.


Blend some garlic, red onions , chili padi and turmeric root. Add some pounded serai (lemongrass) and ikan bilis (dried anchovies).  Fry in olive oil until aromatic.


Add santan, papaya leaves and one or two turmeric leaves, some salt and sugar.   Bring to almost boiling, then turn off the fire.  Add kerisik (roasted grated coconut).  Serve.


To make kerisik

After you have squeezed out the santan from the grated coconut, you normally throw away the leftover meal.  Don’t.  In the old days, everything counts.  Take the meal and fry over medium heat in a wok or pan.  Do not add water or oil.  Just continue stir frying until it turns brown. 

You can also used fresh grated coconut if you do not want to squeeze out the milk.

Some sundry shops sell dried grated coconut.  This works as well.

When the kerisik is cool, blend it without water until fine.  If the quantity is small, pound it till fine.

Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.