My post today is about Butterfly pea flowers.
Earlier in the day today, I was feeling very brave. So I tried meddling with the HTML code of my blog template. Halfway through, it hanged. When I restarted my computer, I found that I was unable to access my blog! Google has listed my blog as a spam blog and quarantine it. Now I don't know when they will return it back to me. Hah, me a spam blogger? No way! How I wish I have the IT intelligence of a spammer. These people are geniuses. Luckily, luckily, dear sweet Joanne of Joanne's Cottage Garden had thought me to use a test blog to try out these 'stunts' , otherwise if My Nice Garden disappears, I don't know what to do next. I don't even know how to backup my blog. I only know how to backup my template. Please be warned. This HTML code thing is scary stuff.
First, I'd like to dedicated this post and the blue plumbago flowers to Ms Lona of A Hocking Hills' Garden, who was the first commenter of my previous post, Wordless Wednesday - Rangoon Creeper. The plumbago flowers are from my garden and it is grown by yours truly.
Next, I have another bunch of plumbagos for Ms Kiki of Awake With Charm & Spirit. Today, I am a blue inspired blogger, participating in her Blue Essence Invitation.
This perennial climber blooms the whole year through. Propagation is by seeds and cuttings. Growing from seeds, it is expected that the plant can bloom in 6 weeks. This plant need a rich, moist soil with full sun to partial shade. It tends to get leggy quickly, so pinching helps to keep it bushy. When growing from seeds, it is advisable to soak the seeds overnight in water before sowing. Seeds will germinated in 1-2 weeks. Cuttings root easily in moist sand or vermiculite.
This plant can be grown as an ornamental, or trained on an arbor or chain link fence. It also look great on a hanging basket. I am not sure if the guys will get excited looking at the flowers but these flowers are a favourite food for butterflies. This plant is not invasive.
This is how the vine, flower, seed and ripe seed pod looks like at close-up. It seems that the young seed pods are edible.
In Thailand, butterfly pea extract is used in hair shampoos for the prevention of falling hair, and to make the hair thicker and more shiny.
In Malaysia, the flowers are used as a food colouring. The flowers are pounded to extract the juice to get the blue colour. It is used in peranakan (Straits-born Chinese/ Baba Nyonya) cooking to make pulut tai-tai or blue glutinous rice cakes. A tai-tai is a chinese word for a wealthy man's wife who does not need to work or earn money but has lots of leisure and money to spend. This dessert is a peranakan wedding specialty. The blue stain comes from the flower. The cakes are usually served with kaya (coconut egg jam). Kaya is a jam or sandwich spread made from coconut milk and eggs, flavoured with pandan leaves and sweetened with sugar. We also apply kaya on toast.
Please click here for the pulut tai-tai and here for kaya recipes from kuali.com
Malay dishes using this flower include kuih tekan (quite similar to pulut tai-tai) and nasi kerabu Kelantan (blue Kelantanese styled rice).
It is also used to make nyonya chang (glutinous rice dumplings). The recipe is here.
In Thailand, it is used to make a sweet syrupy blue drink called nam dok anchan. If you add some lime juice to the blue solution, it will magically turn to purple!
In Burma the flowers are used as food where they are often dipped in batter and fried.
This is my entry for Blooming Friday, 3rd Week of November. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.