Monday, September 15, 2014

Stumped....What Do You Know Of This Plant?

I hope you can help me. I am completely stumped.





My friend gave me a bunch of this and calls it spinach. It grows wild in her garden. She said she planted it after a lady in a vegetarian restaurant gave it to her. Apparently it is good for health.

So my friend gives this to me and tells me that it can be used like spinach.

I made a soup out of the leaves, boiling it with some ikan bilis.

It tasted lovely.

Now that problem is, I don't know what it is or what it's called.

Do leave a comment if you know what it is.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Jew Mallow...A Rediscovery of an Interesting Plant

I am a big fan of the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Merit Society in Penang.

I think they do a fantastic job of serving the community (especially helping underprivileged dialysis patients who can't afford to visit regular hospitals for dialysis treatments, the elderly and such).

In my taman, I love the fact that they're just around the corner with their recycling centre. I drop off my recyclables every week or so and I know that the money they get from selling paper, plastic and tins go toward funding the dialysis centres that they operate in Penang.

The only thing which I don't quite understand is that they recycle books. If you sent them a bunch of books, they would never sell the books as reading materials. They would tear the books up and sell the paper for recycling.

Once I volunteered with them in my taman. They asked me to sort out the different types of paper - among them were old but readable books. I saw a book that I wanted and I even asked if I could pay for the book. They told me it was strict policy that they cannot allow any donated recyclables be sold off. They had to tear up the books.

As a big book fan, I was aghast. I never tear books. I find it sacrilegious to do so! In fact I was quite disturbed about such a policy.

Anyway, that is the only pet peeve I have with these people. Generally they are staffed by volunteers so I don't know whom I could take this matter up with!

But beside this, I have always bought products from Tzu-Chi too. They have lots of interesting products for sale - books by Master Cheng Yen, edibles like vegan noodles, instant rice, powdered beverages, dried fruit snacks and usables like containers made with recycled plastic. They even have t-shirts and blankets made from recycled plastic. And unlike most Chinese products, their products are tasteful and elegant.

Would you believe that these 2 cute "toys" are made from recycled PET bottles? They transform into soft blankets! 


One of the products I used to buy were the beverages - they are suited for vegans and best of all, low on sugar. Nic and I used to visit the Tzu-Chi centre on Macalister Road and buy these for our parents.

This is the blanket made by Tzu Chi from PET bottles. Amazing, isn't it! 


Last week, I bought a packet of Jew's Mallow and Jobs' Tear powdered beverage for myself. I haven't drunk their beverages in a while now. I thought I'd be better off drinking this and supporting a charity (all funds go toward the society).

I know what Jobs' Tears are but I had to re-read up on Jew's Mallow. I think I stumbled on this drink at the right time. I feel that my hair is thinning - not sure if it is from dyeing my hair with henna (which I heard happens too!) or using the wrong shampoo or just not getting enough rest and exercise. I have been very busy (as you can see from the sporadic entries in this blog) and as the final quarter of the year descends, I am getting busier than usual!

So I was undoubtedly pleased when I realized Jew's Mallow is one outstanding plant/vegetable. Apparently it is a nourishing vegetable for skin and hair. It is also known by other names such as Egyptian spinach, bush okra, West African sorrech and jute mallow.

From this website, it is said that Jew's Mallow is a traditional vegetable grown in Taiwan. This plant is rich in calcium which means it is good for the development of health teeth and bones. It also contains iron and fibre.

I bought the beverage for RM24 (approx. 550gm) and it tastes great despite the greenish hue (the green hue comes from tea extract). It is not sweet at all - I can't  stand overly sweet beverages.

This other website notes that "the leaves are very nutritious, rich in iron, protein, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and dietary fiber. But jute mallow is more than just a meal. Its fiber is strong and waterproof, making it perfect for making burlap sacks, furnishings and even clothing."

If you want to see how the leaves of Jew's Mallow look like (or what it is called all over South East Asia and what other uses it has), have a look at this page.

As for me, I'll just be happy to drink this Jew's Mallow beverage if it helps my hair!




Saturday, September 06, 2014

More on Mugwort Or What It Looks Like Close Up

Remember my last post on the herb I found while visiting Balik Pulau? Well, here's more about the herb!

(For more details, read this. Mugwort is terribly useful!)

A week ago, my neighbour gave me a plastic bag full of Ai Ye or Mugwort. Yes, the very same neighbour who saw me planting the Ai Ye herb in my garden.

The very same one who told me the herb grows wild and aplenty in her mom-in-law's garden in Gelugur (why is it that moms-in-law often grow this herb in their garden?)

So here's how the herb looks like. It may look like a lot but once you fry it up with eggs, it shrinks.

I just plucked off the leaves. The stems I stuck them into a pot and they seem to be growing. As my husband says, these are fast-growing weeds and they grow everywhere.

(Update: Maybe it's the weather but my Ai Ye leaves aren't growing as fast as it should be! I just plucked off some and fried them up with eggs only once but the plant is still growing too slowly for my liking. Maybe the plant knows I want to greedily eat it up!)

What I did was fry up the Ai Ye with some eggs and had them for dinner. Just beware that it helps you release gas!

And just this week, I saw Ai Ye sold in bunches in the Lip Sin market. RM1 for a bunch. I wanted to buy 2 bunches but my husband says he's not eating it so one bunch would do nicely for me! See how men absolutely detest this herb?


Ai Ye or Mugwort leaves 

Close up of the Mugwort 

I saved the tough stems - planted them in my garden. I never throw anything away if I can help it.