Telur tebu or tebu telur, the Fijian asparagus a.k.a duruka in the Fiji islands.
It is also known as terubuk in Indonesia, bunga tebu or tebu kerdil. Its Chinese name is 甘蔗花。
Its scientific name is saccharum edule hasskarl.
Telur tebu looks like baby corn and has natural sweetness of sweet corn, even their leaves too look alike. Telur tebu or the vegetable cane is very common in the pacific islands especially on the Fijian Islands. Wild varieties are also found in this area. Telur tebu found in South East Asia are mostly cultivated.
To cook them one have to remove the sheaths and carefully take out the fish egg look-alike, crumbly flowers inside. The unopened flower heads called telur tebu can be cooked in soup or stir fry with vegetables, pumpkins or tomatoes.
Mature telur tebu
The picture below shows telur tebu plants along the roadside in my neighborhood. Notice the thin stems of this variety of sugar cane and this differentiate it from the medicinal plant ‘Ma Cao’. Besides the thin stems, telur tebu and ‘ma cao’ do look very much alike. The difference lies in their stems. Ma cao stem is like bamboo whereas telur tebu stem is sugar cane stem. Their flowers are also different. The dwarf and edible Ma cao is Pennisetum purpureum cv.Mott.
Left-Telur tebu plants in my neighbour’s garden.
Right-Telur tebu ready for harvesting in my garden
The best way to cook it is to cook it in thick soup with pumpkin or tomatoes. The creamy soup of pumpkin blends very well with the soft yet dry telur tebu.
It tastes best in simple dish. Spicy ingredients would cover its natural sweetness. It goes well with sweet corn and cucumber shoots too.
Telur tebu in creamy soup of pumpkin.
- 250 g pumpkin – cut into bite size
- 3 stalks of crushed serai (lemon grass)
- 3 red chilli padi
- 2 tbs corn oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- Fry pumpkin till slightly brown.
- Simmer with 1 cup of water till pumpkin turns soft.
- Add 1 cup of milk with telur tebu, serai and chillies as well.
- The dish is ready once the milk starts boiling.
- Season with light soya sauce.
Enjoy the dish without rice.
Another option is to cook telur tebu in soup with cangkuk manis. The sweet and tasty cangkuk manis soup adds juice to the soft and tender texture of the telur tebu, thus enhances its flavor to a new level.
Telur tebu in cangkuk manis soup.
- 5 stalks of telur tebu
- 150 g cangkok manis leaves – crush the leaves using both hands and then chop finely.
- 2 tsp light soy source
- 3 dry chillies
- 1 cup of water
- Just fry chilli and add the cangkuk manis. Cangkuk manis should be shredded finely.
- Add 1 cup of water and let the soup boil for a few minutes.
- Add in the telur tebu which get cooked very fast.
- Season with light soya sauce.
Enjoy the soup with or without rice.
Click here to find out more about ‘cangkuk manis’. Scroll down that page to view the photo.
Another simple and yet delicious way of cooking telur tebu is by boiling the flowers in milk or coconut milk for a few minutes and then pan-fry or grill them till slightly brown.
Pan-fried telur tebu
Indonesians and local malays deep-fry or cook telur tebu in masak lemak. Telur tebu can be one of the ingredients for our vegetarian curry together with coconut shoots.
Enjoy cooking this sugar cane flower and don’t forget to share with us your photos of great dish with telur tebu together with your comments.
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