Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Etlingera elatior, nicolaia elatior

While looking through my books I learned that the Torch Ginger also goes by another Latin name which is 'Nicolaia elatior'. Initially, I was concerned that I had gotten the name wrong. Getting the names of plants is always a nightmare for me as I am no expert on plant identification. I try my best and sometimes I do make mistakes.
In using Google to confirm that these two names refer to the same plant, I also found several images of this lovely flower. Obviously I am amongst many who appreciate this exotic flower. It is not always that you catch the flowers at the peak when they are really impressive in terms of colour, size, shape and freshness.
Sometimes you see them when they are on the decline with some of the petals browning at the edges. This is still appealing to the butterflies.

When the flowers are unopened they are sliced diagonally and used as an ingredient for our favourite local appetiser called 'Rojak' which literally means a mixture of all sorts of different things - slices of pineapple, cucumber, mango mixed with bean sprouts and 'yu tiao' that are sloshed around in a bowl of special sauce with crushed peanuts. And you could also ask for toasted slices of dried cuttlefish for that special taste that we love so much.

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