Pitcher Plant Rice

Every country has its own unique cuisine, and a country like Malaysia with mix of people from different ethnic backgrounds has a very wide range of cuisine. During the course of my internet research on Malaysia for Malaysia tourism project I came upon this strange dish, Pitcher Plant Rice, which is popular with the locals of the Land Dayaks of Sarawak near the district of Bau and Serikin in Malaysia. It is a delicious Bidayuh food.

The unique dish is “cooked hill rice (purple colored rice from Borneo) with peanuts in a cut opened pitcher”. By pitcher I don’t mean the ‘man made earthen pitchers’ but the natural ones. The pitchers of carnivorous plants, which trap insects in the sticky liquid ‘pitfall trap’ inside it, are used for making this dish. The fly traps of this plant resemble an urn or pitcher. The big ones of these plants are known to have eaten small birds. That is a bit weird I think, imagine eating a snack out of this!

The cup like structure is filled with a mix of brown rice and peanuts, not many spices added to it but the peanuts lend a delicious flavor to it. You can have look at pics in flickr here and here. The rice is sticky. Of the various types of pitcher plant, the pitchers of Nepenthes are used for making this dish. Known as ‘monkey cups’ they grow abundantly in the rainforest of Borneo, locals around this place source these to prepare the snack. It is called Pitcher Plant Rice or Nasi Periuk Kera in Malay. The pitchers are sold in market too, which people buy just like buying any other vessel. If you are there ever and enjoy some cooking of local food you can try making this. Several variations can be made in the ingredients used, adding mushroom, garlic, non-veg stuff like pork and may be prawns too.

The picture below was taken at a botanical garden in Yercaud.

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