The Royal family of edible ferns in Malaysia (part 4)

Paku kubuk/Paku uban(Nephrolepis acutifolia) a.k.a  creeping sword fern

This hairy fern is called Paku Uban in Malay and Paku Putih in Sabah. Paku uban always grows alongside of Paku Pakis so naturally we find them along the road, near the drain and at any place where a lot of paku pakis appear. Not many non-natives know about paku uban. It is less popular than Midin and Paku Pakis, probably due to its hairy fronds and stems.


paku kubok
A bundle of Paku kubuk bought from the market

Pluck off the cores of the fronds and soak in water for 15-30 minutes to get rid of the hair. Rinse thoroughly and blanch in boiling water for a few minutes. It is believed that Paku kubuk tastes less bitter with cores of their fronds being removed. Bitter or not bitter, the cores of the fronds have to be removed because one will never know what are inside the cores.


Paku Kubuk
Paku Kubuk with cores of the fronds being removed

The curly heads are very crunchy with a slight but pleasant bitter taste. Best for ulam and nasi kerabu.

The best way to relish this fern is to ulam it. It has a distinctive crunchy texture and its slight bitter taste matches so well with the spicy sambal belacan which is so appetizing.


Paku Kubuk served with vegetarian sambal belacan


Ulam Paku Kubuk


  • 200 g Paku Kubuk (blanched or boiled for 2 minutes)
  • 100 g tempe (diced)
  • 50 g belacan (mixed with 2 tbs of water to form a paste)
  • 2 tbs minced chillies
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs lime juice                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Method                                     
  1. Fry tempe till slightly brown.
  2. Add belacan paste and chilli. Fry till fragrant.
  3. Tempe fine cubes and belacan paste must be slightly burnt to bring out the desired flavor.
  4. Finally add in bunga kantan florets(optional), all the seasoning and the lime juice.
  5. Serve the blanched Paku kubuk with sambal belacan.

Paku Kelindang (Blechnum orientale L.)/Centipede Fern/贯众,乌毛蕨

It is less popular due to its slimy texture and tasteless fronds. It is good for constipation. Our natives here use the slimy fronds for drawing pus from boils. It is also used in Chinese medicine.


Paku Kelindang
Paku Kelindang

Most of our vendors here in Kuching would strip its skin off and sell the creamy color fronds in 150 g packs.


Skinless Paku kelindang bought from the market
Skinless Paku kelindang bought from the market.

The picture below shows stir-fried skinless Paku Kelindang fronds with tom yam paste. It can also be eaten as vegetable for ulam.


Paku kelindang stir- fried with Tom yam source
Paku kelindang stir- fried with Tom yam sauce

That is all, folks. Other edible ferns are not as popular, so I leave them aside for the time being. After viewing my posts on these edible ferns, I hope there is no more messing up with the names of  those ferns. I know there are people who cannot differentiate paku pakis from paku kubuk and they think all ferns are called paku midin.

Remember, all these are natural organic food and our native vendors depend on them for a decent living. Just wanna remind our trekkers, please be careful when you set your feet on the jungle trails. Mind your steps please. Do not step on the wild edible ferns or some wild vegetables which I am going to blog on them later.


                                                Enjoy your jungle trekking!





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