The Almost Unknown Katuk, Delicious and Nutritious

Katuk

Sauropus androgynus

Almost completely unknown in the United States, Katuk (also called Sweet Leaf Bush, Star-Gooseberry, Chekkurmenis, Chekup Manis, Changkok Manis, and Japanese Malungay) is a tropical plant that grows fast and loves heat. The delicious (and extremely nutritious) leaves and tips are nutty, almost reminiscent of garden peas with a pleasant nutty after taste. When used as stem tips, it is reminiscent of asparagus. This is an extremely popular vegetable in Southeast Asia. The flowers and fruits are also edible. 

In arid climates like Tucson, this plant likes really nice garden soil and regular moisture. Another plus: it likes shade and will produce well, with more tender foliage, in such a condition (it will also be easier to keep moist). Mulch plants VERY well to retain moisture consistency. Plants grow fast and will slump over. Feel free to stake them up, if needed. Feed moderately with kelp, fish emulsion or compost tea. Plants will be damaged or killed by frost. Protect or replant in spring.

Plants can be cooked in so many ways: stir-fries, soups, used fresh in salads…experiment away.

Seeds are hard to find. They can be ordered through Echo Seed Bank and sometimes plants can be found at Top Tropicals. Sometimes seed is available on Ebay through a vendor from Belize.

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One thought on “The Almost Unknown Katuk, Delicious and Nutritious

  1. Pingback: In the saddle. | ouraugust

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