Monday, October 19, 2009

Bunga Telang (Scientific name, Clitoria Termatea), Colouring for Pulut Tai Tai (Nyonya Glutinous Rice Cake with Kaya Spread and Kelantanese Nasi Kerab

The Nyonya and Babas in Malaysia use Bunga Telang extract as food colouring. This dark blue extract is one of the important ingredients for a popular Nyonya ‘kuih’ (dessert), the Pulut Tai Tai. In Kelantan, it is use as colouring for their famous nasi kerabu. I remember, as a kid I used to see my mom collecting and drying these flowers which are then boiled in water. The blue coloured water was then added to a portion of the glutinous rice. My dad made a wooden mould with a top cover which heavy bricks are placed on top to compress the pulut tai tai (Nyonya Glutinous Rice Cake). The pulut tai tai is eaten with kaya spread (egg custard jam). Bunga telang roots have unique medicinal properties. It can help to alleviate the symptoms’ of stress and depression. The roots can also be used to cure whopping cough! I planted some seed that my mom gave me in my backyard and they do grow very fast. This creeper plant grew all over my fence and also on my neighbours’ rather quickly. It was growing too fast and one day I over trimmed it and the plant died. Recently I discovered there were new plants growing healthily at the back alley of my house. The seeds must have dropped there! Due to its’ resemblance to the human female genital, the bunga telang is scientifically known as Clitoria. I wonder what was in the botanist mind when he/ she named this flower!

20 comments:

Christine said...

Interesting facts! It all sounds very healthy too. I'm glad the plant survived by re-seeding.

claire said...

ahh...now i know it is bunga telang.. blue color.. like the post in stp the other day.. the rice was blue in color... i couldnt recall the name... clitoria.. well, fanciful names can make ppl remember better .. i guess.. hehee...

~Elaine Tam~ said...

Hmmmmm..........Kuih Bunga Telang?
hahahah! Looks really healthy!

levian said...

i have never knew they came from flower before. :)

Mei Teng said...

This flower is also known as morning glory isn't?

Other than being used as a natural colouring for pulut tai tai, can this flower be used in other dishes? I am just curious.

Pete said...

Christine : One plant can produce lots of seed...they really multiply very fast.

Claire : It give food nice shade of blue colour!

Elaine : Mmmm, I think the Nyonya didn't call it kuih bunga telang but they named it pulut tai tai! LOL!

levian : Very effective as food colouring. I like the nice blue colour!

Mei Teng : I don't think they call this morning glory. That is another flower. In Kelantan they use in nasi kerabu!

smallkucing said...

I used to have that plant too. very few use the flower for the colour anymore. Mostly people use artificial colouring :(

Pete said...

smallkucing : Real useful plant with medicinal properties. Ya lor, now people use artificial colouring! LOL!

mNhL said...

I've learnt another new fact today! Never knew people use flowers as coloring for their food! Interesting.

suituapui said...

Ya...my post on nasi kerabu the other day, many so shocked and put off by the blue colour! LOL!!!

foongpc said...

Oh! So this is where the colouring came from for the nasi kerabu and the pulut tai tai! I always thought they were artificial colourings! Good to know it's not! : )

Josephine said...

i like to eat it with kaya... long time no eat d...

~dolly~ said...

eh.. i like the kuih one...!!!
really yummy..

ladyviral said...

so t comes from the flower o.o? least we know it is healthy... not poisonous flower i hope hehehe.

wenn said...

i see..that's the flower for the colouring..

Cheryl said...

Very interesting post. A pretty blue flower.

levian said...

definitely better than the actual coloring being used. naively, i always thought those are just colorings, never once thought it came from flower. :p

cleffairy said...

Wahahahahahaha.... no shits... when i first read the title, I oredi laugh like hell la, Pete... Clitoria... sounds pretty much like Clitoris! LMAO...and this reminds me of your bird eating papaya entry again. (My mind needs to be cleaned up liao, keep thinking dirty things onli!)

Neway, on a more serious note, when I was living in B'worth, the house was abundant with these blue flowers, and there's an Indian auntie who always comes to our house to ask for these flowers. I never knew why she wanted it. I always thought that she wanna use those flowers for praying or something, but now I guess she must be making some delicacies for her family with these flowers. LOL...

Ayie said...

that's a "friendly" food coloring =)

petite nyonya said...

bunga telang is indispensable in the making of many types of nyonya kuehs.

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