'MAMAN RENDANG', GEMENCHEH'S DELIGHTFUL DISH

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TAMPIN, June 12 (Bernama) -- ''Maman'' (yellow cleome) is a type of vegetable

that is usually pickled and eaten with rice.

In Negeri Sembilan, particularly in the nearby Gemencheh, maman is an

essential ingredient in the popular dish called ''rendang.''

Scientifically known as ''Cleome gynandra,'' maman takes about 25 days to grow

fully, and can be harvested all year round.

In Gemencheh, maman can be used to prepare rendang and taken with plain

rice, ketupat, lemang or rice cubes.

FOOD DURING CELEBRATIONS

The chairman of the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) for

Gemencheh''s Kampung Gedok, Fahim Mahmud, 49, said that maman rendang is loved by

not only the Malays but also the Chinese and Indians.

Hence, maman rendang is served during the Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and

Deepavali celebrations in the district.

"In Gemencheh, maman rendang is a must. Without this dish, the occasion is

not considered that joyful. Do not be surprised to find out that the Chinese and

Indians now know how to cook this rendang.

"Maman rendang is synonymous with the community in Gemencheh and around

Tampin," he told Bernama.

"This traditional delicacy is also served during wedding feasts, apart from

being part of the daily menu in the community''s meals," he remarked, adding that

the dish is now also featured in feasts held elsewhere in the state.

Fahim observed that rendang is also served to visiting dignitaries, and

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is among those who have sampled this

delicacy.

LARGE-SCALE PLANTING

Fahim, who operates a 3.2-hectare maman farm, said that the demand for the

vegetable is high in Gemencheh; during the festive seasons, the demand for raw

maman can be as high as 10 tonnes.

"Earlier, maman was planted on a small scale, but now due to the high

demand, we have taken the initiative to farm the vegetable on a large scale," he

explained, adding that farmers who cultivate maman can earn more than RM8,000 a

month.

"Maman tastes bitter. The rendang contains a lot of ''santan'' (coconut milk),

chilli and asam keping, which will make the bitterness disappear," he explained.

''Asam keping'' is the local name for ''Garcinia atroviridis,'' a large

perennial plant that grows in the forest. The fruit contains flavonoids as well

as citric, tartaric, malic and ascorbic acids.

Ripe asam fruit has a bright yellow-orange appearance. Sun-dried slices of

the fruit, locally known as ''asam keping,'' are commercially available and

popularly used in vegetable salads.

It is extremely sour and commonly used as an ingredient in dishes such as

curries.

MAKING MAMAN RENDANG

Rosnah Abdullah, 43, a teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Datuk Abdullah in

Gemencheh, said that the key to preparing a delicious dish of maman rendang is

to use traditional techniques and ingredients.

"There should be coconut milk, turmeric, bird''s eye chilli, asam keping and

salt. Slices of smoked beef are mixed with chilli and turmeric that have been

ground into a fine paste.

"After these ingredients have blended well in the wok, pour in the santan,

which should not be too liquid or sticky. For two kg of maman, it is necessary

to use santan from two or three coconuts.

"Then asam keping is used to neutralise the maman''s bitter taste, Rosnah

explained.

For one kg of maman, about six pieces of asam keping are needed.

"When the santan has boiled and begins to dry, maman is added into the mix

and cooked until the santan becomes dry," she added.

-- BERNAMA

RP CR ZUL INE CR

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