Honje Hutan

Ark of taste
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Honje hutan is the Indonesian name for Etlingera hemisphaerica, a plant from the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, whose flowers and fruit are sour and aromatic. Various members of the genus Etlingera are known in English as torch ginger, and cultivated as ornamental plants all over the world. The closely related species Etlingera eliator is widely distributed and cultivated in East and Southeast Asia, and is known in Indonesia as kecombrang or simply honje. Honje hutan means “forest honje” and refers to the fact that Etlingera hemisphaerica is not cultivated, but harvested from the wild.

Honje hutan is thought to have originated in Java, but also grows in Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. It is especially important in West Java, the homeland of the Sundanese people (or Urang Sunda). In the Sundanese language honje hutan is known as honje leuweung, honje hejo, or honje laka.

The flower buds of honje hutan are often used fresh in lalap, a Sundanese salad; or boiled and eaten with sambal, a chili sauce popular in Java and Bali. A drink is made from the ripe fruits, while slices of the stem are pan fried and used in fish and vegetable dishes. Honje hutan can be used in place of kecombrang as a seasoning for various versions of satay, including sate maranggi, which is popular in Cianjur and Purwakarta, West Java. Honje hutan is becoming less common throughout its range, in large part due to deforestation. Because it is not cultivated, honje hutan is at risk of disappearing from local cuisines.

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West Java

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Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Nominated by:Bibong Widyarti