Tipskey
Raw Ulam Raja Leaves Are Edible
ulam raja
Ulam raja is a Malay name, meaning king's salad. Although it has a Malay name and is popular in Southeast Asia, it actually originates from Latin America. Its botanical name is Cosmos caudatus.

It can grow up to as tall as a man. The upper surface of a mature leaf stalk is purple in colour. Its stem is a bit hairy. Its flower has eight petal-like ray florets. Its fruits, known as achenes, are tiny and look like small sticks about one inch in length, so are usually misunderstood as seeds. To help spreading, besides having two soft tiny hooks at the tip of each fruit, once mature the surface of receptacle spreads so fruits take up more space instead of bundling together. With its usually pink flowers and tripinnately compound leaves, it has artistic value.

Its leaf tastes a bit like an unripe mango but it is not sour. Its terminal bud tastes the best. The flower is also edible. Those can be eaten raw as salad or together with rice.

It is a tropical herb. Due to its size, a pot should only have one plant. It needs generous amount of water daily so the diameter of the pot should be about one foot to contain more water. A wine bottle filled with water can be set upside down in the pot by driving the orifice into the soil. Ulam raja also needs a lot of direct sunlight to grow well so it will not survive in a balcony that has no direct sunlight. It is easier to be propagated by sowing its tiny stick-like brown fruits. It is an annual herb so to prolong its life, whenever flower buds are visible, pick them away. By doing this, side shoots will also grow and the plant becomes bushier.

Posted: 2016-11-17; updated: 2017-01-06 by Ong Seng Aun.
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