Bunga Telang,a blue flowering climber growing in the tropical land of Malaysia,is a cultivated plant found in most of the villages in Malaysia.It is a natural blue dye for local nonya food.
Latin name of bunga telang is clitoria ternatea.Oh my,what a sexual name! It is also known as Butterfly pea or blue pea.
It grows as a vine or creeper.The most striking feature of this plant is its vivid deep blue color displayed by its flowers.According to wikipedia,it also improves soil quality.
“Its roots fix nitrogen and therefore this plant is also used to improve soil quality”-Wikipedia
Look at its vivid deep blue flower shown in the picture above.The color is so soothing.Blue,blue is its color and I am totally lost in the sea of blue.
Just a sudden thought of blue …………….
“I wish to dive into the sea of blue and emerge as a lotus of blue, emitting thousands of rays of healing blue,to ease the pain of those feeling very blue……..”
Just a few months ago,I asked for some old and dry blue peas from an old lady.Sowed them in nursey begs and when they grew up to 10cm height, I transplanted them to the backyard of my house.
Look at my bunga telang vines as shown in the pictures below, climbing gracefully on the sticks I cut from the roadside.
Look at the blue flowers.Many spiritual sects believe that blue color is the color for healing power.I am so proud of my Bunga Telang flowers.They keep on blooming more and more.
There are also other varieties of multilayered petals and pink color flowers.The picture above shows a picture of bunga telang with multilayered petals from my facebook friend’s garden.
Very often I cook deep blue konyaku jelly with at least 30 flowers.Occasionally,I cook kueh inti or nasi kerabu using its flowers as natural dye.With konyaku jelly,the strength of the blue color can be reduced as one likes but as for me ,I like its dark blue color,looks so unusual and beautiful,full of healing and soothing energy.
The flowers of bunga telang are used to dye glutinous rice in Malaysian nonya food such as kueh inti,kueh serimuka,kuek tai tai and blue Ba zhang in Malacca.Collect at least 50 flowers from the vines.Rinse thoroughly to get rid of small insects like ants or other particles.Use wooden pestle to grind the flowers after rinsing and squeeze out the blue juice.Strain and collect the juice.Keep in a glass bottle and in the fridge for later use.Picture below shows a bowl with a wooden pestle.
Konyaku jelly recipe
- 1 packet of konyaku jelly powder(10 gm per pack)
- 200-250 gm rock sugar in powder form
- 1/2 tsp of agar-agar powder
- - Mix the three ingredients above thoroughly.
- 50 bunga telang – extract bunga telang juice from blue pea flowers
- Add water to the bunga telang juice and fill it up to 1 litre.
- Boil the blue water.
- Add the mixture into the boiling water.
- Keep on stirring until the mixture is dissolved .
- Let cool for 5 minutes.Keep on stirring.
- Pour the cooler mixture into the moulds.
- Keep in the fridge overnight and by simply twisting the mould,the jellies will pop out easily.Prepare 3 to 4 moulds for this recipe.
The other nonya kueh using bunga telang as food dye is pulut inti or kueh inti.Kueh pulut inti and pulut tai tai can share the same recipe.In some recipes you may be told to soak the rice overnite in blue bunga telang juice.My recipe gives you the simplified steps.Please read on.
Kueh Inti or pulut inti
- 2 cups of glutinous rice -soaked for 6 hrs or overnight.
- 300 gm of grated coconut – add 1 cup of water to extract coconut milk and to this coconut milk add 1/2 tsp of salt.
- To prepare sweet coconut topping – Just mix 2 cups of grated coconut with 1 cup of brown sugar OR
- 300 gm of grated coconut mixed with 100 gm of brown sugar,then pan-fry until the mixture becomes slightly dry.
Prepare Banana leaves.
Cut into 4″ x 7″ strips.Blanch in boiling water.Pat dry if necessary or leave outside and wait till dry.
- Steam the rice in coconut milk with some pandan leaves for 30 minutes.Use a fork to poke the rice loose so that more rice can be dyed by the bunga telang juice.
- Drizzle some bunga telang juice onto the cooked rice and this will give the rice a blue and white china porcelain look.
- Steam again for another 5-10 minutes.
Make 15-20 rice balls of 50 gm each.
- Top the rice balls with 2 tsp of sweet coconut.
- Wrap with banana leaf. Tuck the two ends under rice ball.Trim the ends if they are too long. Check below to see the right way for tucking the leaf under the kueh inti.
As for kueh tai tai,begin preparing at step 4 by pressing the blue rice flat on a 7″ x 7″ x 2″ tray.Let cool for a few hours.Cut into squares and serve with vegetarian kaya made from pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
Pumpkin Kaya recipe
- 500 gm pumpkin (steamed for 15-20 min with skin if it is a soft skinned pumpkin) – can be replaced by steamed yellow sweet potatoes.
- 125 gm brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 300 gm grated coconut (add 1/2 cup of water to extract coconut milk) – can be replaced by fresh milk.
- Blend all the ingredients together till the mixture is smooth.
- Simmering over medium low fire.Keep on stirring for about 15 min or until the mixture turns thick.
- Set aside and let cool.
- Serve with kueh tai tai , bread or biscuits.Below is a picture of Kueh tai tai served with pumpkin kaya.