The Royal family of edible ferns in Malaysia (part 3)

Paku Ikan /Paku Pakis/Pucuk paku (Diplazium esculentum)

To Sarawakians abroad, memories of some of the jungle produce never fade despite of their long distance away from their homeland, Sarawak. Very often you can hear them whinning for miding, paku and terung asam. In this post it is about a wild fern called Paku Pakis, Pucuk Paku or simply Paku Ikan. This is grade A Paku Ikan with a lot of frond curls and a few leaves. We stir fry it with vegetarian belacan and chilies or cook in ulam. It can be cooked in curry with potatoes too.


Paku Pakis with fiddle heads

This wild fern called Paku pakis can be found in abundance at the road side, along the streams and drains and at the open spaces in Kuching City. Hence the price is much lower than that of the miding.

This Grade B Paku pakis  shown in the picture below has less frond curls and is more leafy. Actually paku pakis can be found in Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, China and West Malaysia. In Chinese it is called 过山猫。


The leafy Paku Pakis

Like midin, they grow well on peat soil area and they are naturally free of pests. Nobody cares to cultivate them because they grow practically everywhere in this part of the world. It is much cheaper than Paku midin but is no less popular than Paku midin.

Best way to cook Paku pakis is stir fry it with vegetarian belacan.


Paku pakis stir-fried in vegetarian belacan
Paku pakis stir-fried in vegetarian belacan                                                                             


                                                       Stir-Fried Paku pakis in sambal belacan


  • 300 g Paku pakis
  • 20 g  vegetarian belacan
  • 3 dry chillies (minced)
  • 5 stalks of lemon grass (crushed)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened grated coconut – made from 1/2 cup of grated coconut and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Roast the grated coconut in the wok till it turns slightly brown. Add brown sugar and cook till the mixture thickens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Method
  1. Blanch the Paku Pakis and drain.
  2. Fry the belacan, chillies, curry powder and lemon grass together.
  3. Stir-fry the fern with the belacan.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of water.
  5. Cook till the ferns become soft but not overcooked.
  6. Season with 1 tsp of light soya sauce.
  7. Top with sweetened grated coconut.

Paku pakis tastes great in vegetarian curry too. Recipe will be included in another post.


Paku in vegetarian curry
Paku in vegetarian curry

Bundles of Paku Pakis for sale by the natives is a common sight all over the markets in Kuching city. They look fresh and display a lustre of green on their leaves and fronds.


Paku Ikan for sale in the market
Paku pakis for sale in the market


Quite often people, even some locals, get confused with Paku midin, Paku pakis and Paku kubuk. Get familiar with our edible ferns by eating them. That is the only way to learn about our gems from our forests.


                      Edible ferns from our jungles,

                                            Our pride, our treasure………



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