Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nature's Cups

Monkey cup stuffed with rice.

My friend Stephanie went to a Hari Raya Open House and came away with these for me:


Has anyone ever seen monkey cups (also known as pitcher plants) used this way before, because I haven't, not until now. I almost feel guilty having them because I'm not sure if these are protected species as most Nephentes are. I can't imagine how many of these cups were taken from the jungle for this use. I'm all for using natural materials but if rare plants are used, then it isn't right. No wonder the world's plants and animals species are threatened with extinction. However, these do look like the more common monkey cups that are cultivated in nurseries and sold at weekend markets, so maybe I'm just ignorant. Maybe people use them all the time.


Just in case you are wondering, the palm-sized cups did not impart any particular flavor to the rice. I thought I had a slight furry feel and slight 'pull' on my tongue but nobody had that feeling so I guess it was my imagination. The glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk was very fragrant, smooth and soft. And that chicken rendang! I must get the recipe!

p.s. I am kind of shy to post this. People already wonder if we live on trees in Borneo. Monkey cups are such wondrous yet primitive plants.


bryan said...

Well if they do think that you'll just have to set them straight!

red | hongyi said...


ive never ever heard of ppl stuffing rice into pitcher plants too. looks like some kinda tribal dish. that's it mummy, my friends r going to tease me again!

J2Kfm said...

ha? it's entirely new to me as well. cannot be eaten right?
or can they?

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

bryan: i dunno, smtimes i think it's better to let ppl continue in their ignorance..its our gain & their loss.

yi: ur friends must be singaporeans??

j2kfm: the cups aren't eaten but i think u can if you r a ruminant.

ganache-ganache said...

hey I know Sabahans don't love in trees & I've never heard a Singaporean asking me if you live in tree in Sabah, haha ?? But this is kind of weird, rice in a pitcher plant, count me out !!

SOOBESTA said...

actually ganache ganache is right no one singapore has ever asked me whether we in Sabah live on trees.. only in west Malaysia.. how weird?
their (singaporeans) geography lessons must be good!

by the way i really don't think people should use pitcher plant as a dish holder or something as i am sure they're protected.. unless they were planted lots by the chef!

even that... nah!

triShie said...

oh yeah, it's very common here to have the rice stuffed monkey cups. i was worried also at my first try 'cause like, aren't they supposed to be protected stuff? anyway, so far those that have cooked them do it because they're from the village and they grow in their own land, so i guess it's not too illegal. haha!!

YUM! better than the normal wrapped in leaves..

Anonymous said...

I think it's neat! May b I’m 2 much of an optimist, aren’t d cups like flowers of d plants? So using cups only and not destroying d plant would be alright; ‘cos more cups will be produced just like more flowers will bloom when the spent one are removed? In this regard, it makes perfect sense 2 utilize nature’s offerings. No washing dishes which adds to wasted water & pollution, a ww situation, don't U think.

Unknown said...

Hmm...if they didn't infuse any flavour whatsoever, I might not even wanna try it. Some common knowledge is that, the monkey cup's cup are the plants mouth. It usually holds liquid/water to attract bugs of all sorts to a drink i.e. a bug's pub. These bugs got "drunk" and fall into the concoction, which digests them! The digested/rotted mess is absorbed in the cup itself. Imagine cooking rice on these... Ewww~!

Precious Pea said...

Interesting. Never heard of this plant before. But ahem, safe to use?

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ganache: my girl said her singpore friends teased her about it.

soobesta: yes, west msians aren't very good in their history n geography.

trishie: so it's common to do tt in sarawak? i shdn't feel so bad then.

mike: the cups r extensions of the leaves. u've got a good point about using nature's offerings, like how they used to serve fried noodles on leaves (n i still miss tt bc the leaves give a nice aroma) but then with the population booming, nature just can't keep up.

johnathan: ever heard of washing?? it's only bugs, bugs r better than rotting animals.

pp: U DON"T HAVE MONKEY CUPS in west?? i need to go back to my biology books.well, i ate one and i'm still good.

triShie said...

heh heh. there are still some kch ppl here who are unaware of this eating style. but yea, i would say it is truly common amongst those in the villages.

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