when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
i have in my garden a pot of young ulam raja plant..got the seeds from mom a few months ago..she has a few ulam raja plants growing right in front of the house..i was so excited to get my hands on the seeds and grow my own ulam raja supply..
the ulam raja, or by its scientific name cosmos caudatus comes from the cosmos family and is also known as wild cosmos..it bears small pink flowers, unlike its more commercial cousins that bear bigger and showier flowers..
it grows wild and can usually be found sold in abundance in wet markets, and now, supermarkets too..its seeds are long and thin, dark brown to black in colour and sprout quite easily, depending on its ‘freshness’..the seeds can be found in the dried flowers..i sowed some in a pot and seedlings sprout a few days to a week later..old seeds will definitely take a much longer time to grow..
all parts of the plant can be eaten, but normally only the young shoots are plucked for consumption..you can usually find the ulam raja in shops selling nasi campur, alongside other types of fresh ulam (herbs or vege)..the taste of the young shoots is slightly bitter, but carries a really fragrant aroma and is very, very addictive because of that..i like to eat the ulam raja with rice and other dishes, with a must-have bowl of sambal belacan or budu (fermented anchovies) with tempoyak (fermented durian)..i made some tempoyak recently, and will post the recipe soon..
eating ulam raja is said to help clean and improve our blood circulation as it contains a high content of antioxidants..its other health benefits also include aiding in lowering uric acid, reduces heatiness in the body, and even helps to strengthen our bones..
the plant thrives in direct sunlight and needs to be watered once a day/2 days..it can grow up to a height of 2 metres, so it’s advisable to plant it in the ground or use really big pots..i’ll be transferring mine to a much bigger pot once it reaches about half a metre in height..