Saturday, January 2, 2010

Poisonous but yummy! Pangium edule


See also: Pangium edule

Highly concentrated in cyanic acids but really nice! YUM YUM YUM! LOL All joking aside though, this nut (seed actually) obtained from the fruit of Pangium edule, local name buah kepayang, is highly poisonous and must be thoroughly cleaned, boiled for a few hours and soaked overnight before consumption.

If not prepared well, too much of it and you'll feel a bit woozy (if you don't die!). It's where the Malay expression "mabuk kepayang" comes from (usually used to describe someone high and drunk on love; mabuk means drunk).

pangium_edule_buah_kepayang (2)

Sarawak natives call it buah empayang (buah means fruit, by the way). The poison contained in the seed is used to taint dart tips or arrows for hunting.

If you try it raw and unprepared, it is extremely bitter, and will knock you out with its hydrocyanic acids if you chow down anyway. But cooked and carefully prepared, it is very nice especially with a pinch of salt, has quite a crunchy nutty taste but unlike peanut. This is the only way I have ever eaten this seed. It's the only way I know how to. However, a quick net search reveals that it is also used in many fish and chicken dishes especially in Malay and Indonesian cooking.

Google the species name to find photos of the fruit, tree and unprepared seeds. I didn’t bother taking any photos of them before they were cracked open, chopped up and thrown into boiling water. :D


Anonymous said...

Am from PNG and the island I'm from has this. Before this blog I knew nothing about this fruit except it is a delicacy and its prep is a long process without modern conveniences.
Our prep is similar to the prep posted but caution is given for careless prep. Thank you for the excellent pictures and brief description of the edible pangium edule.

sarawaklens said...

@Anon, thanks for dropping by. It's quite popular in some parts of my country and used in some traditional dishes too.

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