Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bunga Kantan (Torch Ginger Flower Bud) 姜花

From garden to table

Etlingera Elatior, the scientific name for TorchGinger Flower, or Bunga Kantan in Malay and 姜花 in Chinese, is a type of tropical flower commonly found in South East Asia. Its pink flower bud is particularly important to be used as a spice ingredient in Malay and Nyonya cuisine, with its distinctive, aromatic fragrance to zest up curry and seafood stews i.e. Tomyam and Laksa.
Over here, we also call it Laksa flower (Bunga Laksa in Malay), since it is used in the famous Penang Nyonya Assam Laksa. In addition to Laksa, it is also widely used in Malay, Nyonya and Thai fruit salad i.e. Rojak or Kerabu.

We had this flower planted opposite our house by my late mother-in-law a year before she passed away in 2008. It took more than a year to flower. The leave stalks and flower stalks grow out from an underground stem and the flower plant can grow over 4 meters in height. It requires larger space and is not suitable to be planted in a pot. I didn’t place much attention on it and just let it grew wildly. When we were about to leave for NZ in mid 2009, we got to see it just started to flower.
Taken in year 2009
First flowr
By the time we came back from NZ, we were surprised to see it still grew healthily and flowered so well.
About 4 years old trees - April 2011
Flowers grew wildly
Harvest to use
When I was in Auckland, instead of fresh buds we were lucky enough to be able to find frozen ginger flower buds from certain Asian grocery shops, as I knew many people could hardly find it in European countries and the US.

To use Bunga Kantan, we only take its bud and chuck the stalk.
TorchGinger Flower, or Bunga Kantan
Few ways in using the buds in cooking:
First slice bud into half or quarter and place into curry/gulai/tomyam
 to cook to flavour the soup.

Flower bud to add in curry, gulai or tomyam soup

or you can also opt to finely shred the whole bud and use for garnishing or adding into Kerabu or fruit salad


  1. The 4 years old tree looks so healthy! I seldom use bunga kantan in my cooking though....

    1. T&T:
      The tree planted by my late-mother-in law so when the plants grow so healthy and flowers get blossom, symbolise my late MIL keeps her blessing to us from heaven.

  2. Everything you make is so rich and inviting...I get the aroma right here in this corner of the world!

    How you been?

    1. Hi Thoma:
      Thanks,I'm doing fine over this corner of the world, how about you? Do you have such flower over in India too?

  3. Yin, always knead my bread by hand since I bake them in small quantity and I don't have any mixer. If you buy one, please let me know..

  4. Yin, Can you please provide me with the address of the Asian Grocery store that sells bunga kantan in Auckland. Many Thanks

    1. Jell:
      You can try your luck at Fresh n Save chain shops. However, previously I saw it over at Porana Fresh N Save (formely Siver Bell).

  5. I wish I could find it in the US.

  6. We live in Auckland. Which Asian grocery shop can we buy the plant. Thanks.

  7. Hi Ying, we live in Auckland too. Where can we buy this in Auckland?

  8. Hi Richard:
    You can probably find this frozen bunga Kantan at Fresh n Save chain shops. However, previously I saw it over at Porana Fresh N Save (formely Siver Bell).

  9. do you know where can I get that in Toronto?

  10. Anyway to get ginger torch in Toronto? Are you able to mail out?



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