Yes, we trimmed our Katuk Hedge this afternoon and the leaves are going into tonight’s dinner plus some for the freezer. This edible hedge has grown so well I’ve even introduced/shared some Katuk dishes with neighbors.
My hedge harvest
Katuk flowers are edible too!
Many Katuk gardeners in the US have blogged about “throwing them in salad” and tasting its “nutty flavor” but having eaten this plant for decades in Asia (& I used to call it Cekur Manis) I simply prefer the cooked version ~ in curries, in sambal (hot paste with shrimp base) dishes, etc. Well, today, I decided to cook it in a “fusion” kind of dish.
sauteed with garlic and olive oil
Too much for 1 dinner so I’ve frozen half of the sauteed Katuk, the other portion got cut up finely on a cutting board. It’s much easier to ‘control’ when cooked so if your dish requires “finely chopped/diced” greens, stir-fry Katuk till it’s slightly limp then cut them up.
I’ve slow-cooked it with pasta sauce from my freezer (made from home-grown tomatoes) plus onions, mushrooms, firm tofu and loads of sweet basil from the backyard.
Vegetarian pasta topping
Tonight’s dinner is probably unheard of, as yet, so I’m going to call it Penne con Katuk.
Penne con Katuk
This time last year when we visited ECHO nursery in Fort Myers, we actually found they were growing Katuk, so we bought a pot to cultivate.
Back in Singapore I would call it Cekur Manis or Mani-chai (馬尼菜) but I’ve now learned that it is called Katuk in the U.S. It’s said to be a perennial but I’ve found that it grows best during warm weather.
They don’t exactly look like Kew Garden’s manicured shrubs but they are forming edible hedges around our oak well and parts of the backyard.
the Katuk hedge
vitamin & mineral-rich greens
When I’m in a “can’t be bothered to cook” frame of mind, just cut some leaves up, stir-fry with garlic and then add an egg. That makes a simple, tasty and nutritious sandwich filling. Tastes great too when stir-fried with anchovies, in pasta dishes and of course spicy Asian dishes. *yum yum*
To cultivate, I stick a branch in a tall container of water and just wait for it to form roots.
ready to be planted in soil
That’s a no brainer … right?