Friday, 31 December 2004

Ubi kayu Kak Ana

My previous maid, Kak Ana was a petty eater. She wouldn’t eat many of the foodstuffs that we bought. Internal organs, butter, milk, any types of big fish, seafood are among the items on her no-no list. She thrived on air kopi (coffee, but not Nescafe though), susu manis (condensed milk), bread, sambal belacan, and most of all, pucuk ubi kayu.

On a trip back to Kelantan about a year ago, she saw my sister’s ubi kayu plants behind the house. She asked for permission to plant some in my backyard. My Mother told her to cut the trunk of the plant into pieces the length of sejengkal (stretch your thumb and your middle finger and the distance between them is called sejengkal). Take only old parts of the plant which should be brown in colour. Sharpen one end of each piece. To plant it, just strike the sharp end into the ground. However, with this method, you’ll end with small ubi (roots?) since the plants are not buried deep in the ground.

In her enthusiasm, Kak Ana brought back close to 20 pieces. The small piece of land behind my house measures only about 10 ft x 10 ft. Kak Ana planted all 20 pieces of ubi kayu, 2 papaya plants, 1 lengkuas (galangal), 1 pandan and 1 serai. I also had some flower shrubs, the thorny types that would prevent thieves entering through the back gate. It would also prevent the family going out the same way.

For the next 1 year, we never ran out of supply of pucuk ubi kayu. The ubi kayu plant sustained Kak Ana. And our backyard looked like a mini forest.

Kak Ana terminated her service in August. Since then, we didn’t eat pucuk ubi kayu anymore. The plants have grown a lot and became breeding ground for mosquitoes. So last weekend I decided to pull them out. When I was almost done, my DH popped his head through the back door and saw what I was doing. He had mentioned previously that he wanted to buy a parang to clear the backyard. When he asked how I managed to pull the plants out, I told him I used my bare hands. He said he didn’t know I could pull papaya plants with my bare hands. I told him those were ubi kayu plants, not papaya. I was laughing inside. I know, I know, papaya and ubi kayu look quite similar, though the tastes are worlds apart. Besides, my DH thought even ubi kayu plants couldn’t be removed without any special gadgets (men and their gadgets!). But then, he didn’t grow up in a kampung after all, so his ignorance could be forgiven.

Afterwards, DH helped me to clear the backyard. For the next 3 days, w
e ate celur pucuk ubi kayu as ulam for dinner. As expected, the roots turned out quite small but were good enough for breakfast.

2 comments:

Bustaman said...

Ubi kayu can also be cut like poatoe fries and fried. The best is still "ubi kayu rebus gaul nyior".

Yasmin's Mummy said...

Pokku, lebih sedap kalau makan musim banjir, waktu pagi when in rains..