Kammu Food

Stewed Banana Flowers


Damrong Tayanin (Kàm Ràw)
Kristina Lindell (ed.)

Kammu villages are situated on mountain slopes, and there are many streams and brooks running from the tops of the mountains to the rivers down in the valleys. Along those streams there grow many different kinds of edible wild plants, mushrooms and bamboo. It is not difficult at all to get wild vegetables in the forest, if you know which plants can be eaten and which one should avoid, for there are both edible and poisonous plants. Some wild vegetables are found only during the hot season and others are picked during the rainy season. Thus we can find wild vegetables all the year round.

When you prepare food you should never mix wild vegetables with cultivated ones. If you do, the dish would not taste good.

Here is a recipe of a rich stew from wild vegetables. As is the case with many tropical plants, the Erythropalum scandens vine does not seem to have an English name. I will therefore use the Kammu name krlìing in the recipe.

- Ingredients -

  1. 3 litres of cold water
  2. 200 grammes of young krlìing leaves
  3. 1 large bunch of banana flowers
  4. 200 grammes of dried meat or one dried squirrel
  5. 4 green peppers
  6. one spoon of salt
  7. one hand full of crushed rice

- Preparation -

  1. fill the pot with cold water
  2. roast the 4 green peppers
  3. heat the pot until the water boils
  4. add the salt
  5. tear the roasted peppers to pieces and put in the pot
  6. cut the dried meat or dried squirrel into small pieces and put in the pot
  7. stir carefully with a stirring stick
  8. cut the krlìing into small pieces and put it in the pot
  9. cut the bunch of banana flowers and put it in the pot
  10. add crushed rice
  11. stir as much as you can in order to make the stew tasty
  12. the stew is ready in 25 to 30 minutes

You need not to add any spice at all, because the krlìing has a strong taste in itself.

Erythropalum scandens, krlìing

Some families plant the krlìing in their gardens so that they may collect them whenever they need it. However, there grows a lot of it along the streams or riverbanks so that anyone may go and collect it.

Banana flower

We, Kammu never use bunches of cultivated banana flowers to prepare food, we use only wild ones.

This kind of rich stew is especially good during the hot season, from February to June or so. From July to November people use their cultivated vegetables and bamboo shoots.

Note that the Kammu do not use any oil when they cook, only cold water.

All photos by Kàm Ràw

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Damrong Tayanin (Damrong.Tayanin@ling.lu.se)

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