With all the hype that edible flowers is getting in the market, have we paid enough tribute to local edible flowers that we have in our land? Keep in mind that all the flowers that are edible, they don’t have to be petite and pretty. While most edible flowers are shown as a garnish these days, flowers have been a core part in some of Indonesian favourite dishes. So what are they?
We bet most of you have had bunga pepaya (papaya flower), most probably in a Manadonese restaurant. Papaya flower that is used in Indonesian dishes would be the ones that haven’t bloomed yet and most of the time we used the male flower. It has a slightly bitter taste to it, but when cooked in the right way they bring out quite a memorable taste!
Bunga Telang (Butterfly Pea) flower has got to be one of the most fascinating flowers that we have in Indonesia. When extracted, it brings out a deep blue color. It has a Latin name of Clitoria ternatea, which indicates that the flower originates from Ternate, an island in the Eastern part of Indonesia. The flower is believed to bring benefits to the health, including memory enhancing, treating hair loss and as antidepressant.
Surprisingly common to be used in Indonesian dishes, bunga kecombrang is cooked differently in different parts of Indonesia. In Bali, the flower is called kecicang, while the young stem is called bongkot and both can be used in sambal matah. In Javanese dishes, the flower is a common part of pecel, mixed with other vegetables. In Karo, bunga kecombrang is used in their popular dish, which is arsik ikan mas.
Kembang Turi is quite popular in Javanese dishes. When it has been boiled, the flower is a common addition to pecel or eaten as lalap. The flower itself has a meaty flavor and has a bit of slimy texture. It is believed that kembang turi can help breastfeeding mother to improve milk production.