Jungle Fern (Midin) Stir Fry

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Midin stir fry

Midin stir fry

Excited to share a wonderful wild jungle vegetable. It’s a fern and locally known as ’midin, milin or bilin‘. This special wild jungle fern stir fry is one of the only 2 dishes that I cooked during my recent holiday back to Malaysia. The other dish was Bitter Gourd And Egg Stir Fry. These are just a couple of my favourite local vegetables. Midin stir fry is one dish that everyone who visits Sarawak must try. It has a crispy texture and tastes very good.

Fresh midin

Fresh midin

Midin is very popular in Sarawak. It is a common dish in restaurants. It’s a creepy plant and grows wild in the forest. It’s regarded as a delicious and nutritious wild vegetable. Apparently this particular fern only grows on the island of Borneo. I’m interested to know where else they grow. The natives would pluck the top section of the fern and sell them at the local jungle produce market. I heard that these days people plant them for sale.

There are various ways to cook midin. It’s usually cooked with belachan, anchovies (ikan bilis), garlic or wine. I love all of them. But here I fried it with garlic and the red rice wine that my mother-in-law made. It tastes superb! The recipe is very simple. You don’t need elaborate ingredients or seasonings for a tasty vegetable like midin. Sometimes simplicity is still the best.

red rice wine

Washed midin

Washed midin

Pluck the tender tips of the fern. Wash it very well and drain.

Stir frying the midin

Stir frying the midin

Heat up some oil in the frying pan. Add some chopped garlic. Fry until it’s golden and fragrant then add the midin. Keep frying using high heat. It doesn’t take long to cook, maybe a couple of minutes.

Red rice wine

Red rice wine

Add some salt to taste and pour in some red rice wine. Stir and dish up. Serve hot with rice.

This special red rice wine that my mother-in-law made is of very high quality. It has a beautiful, delicate smell and taste. When added to chicken soup, especially with ‘mee suah’ (Chinese longevity noodles), it just blows me away and sends me craving for more. I don’t think there’s any substitute for it.

Have you seen this fern in your place or somewhere else apart from Borneo? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Other posts about Sarawak that you may be interested in:
Iban Longhouse Of Sarawak
Best Local Fruits Of Malaysia

For more interesting story about longhouse, you can visit Uncle Lee’s blog on The Hospitality Of A Longhouse Chief.

Quote of the day……

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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3hungrytummies  on July 30th, 2010

Oh I miss midin so much Mary! A must order when I was living in Kuching.

suituapui  on July 30th, 2010

Hello. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Will link you in my blogroll. You’ll come again, won’t you?

In Sibu, the Chinese/Foochows call midin “mee-lian”…and somehow, it was lost in translation…and eventually, they call it “million” and it is very popular these days at eateries, unlike long ago. I wonder if it has anything to do with the name…and the dreams of everyone to become a millionaire. LOL!!!

Priya  on July 30th, 2010

Never seen this midin, very interesting stir fry..

peanutts  on July 30th, 2010

Oh looks nice, I have seen a type of fern around here, I am in kelantan by the way, but the stems are quite hard , not like this with quite curly leaves.

Mary  on July 30th, 2010

@3hungrytummies - Now we are in the same boat …missing this and drooling…haha :D Looking forward to my next trip back :P

@suituapui - You are most welcome! I have to visit your blog to check out more food and ….drool….haha :D Thanks very much for linking. Oh…I think better call it ‘million’ vegetables…sounds great. Eat more….may be got chance to become a millionaire! LOL!! :D :D

@Priya - So far it’s only found on the island of Borneo. Still wonder why. But it’s a very delicious vegetable :D

@peanutts - Heard you can’t get this in West Malaysia. It’s so delicate that it can’t be exported. Maybe some one must try to plant there :D The one that you mentioned I think is what we call ‘paku’ in East Malaysia. It’s also very delicious but harder.

Nadji  on July 30th, 2010

Un légume tout à fait nouveau pour moi.
See soon.

anncoo  on July 30th, 2010

This is new to me. Looks interesting, does this tastes like kangkung?

busygran  on July 30th, 2010

That’s a very unusual veggie! I’ve never seen nor eaten it before. Would go well fried with chilli dried prawns and belachan!

Belinda @zomppa  on July 30th, 2010

I agree - so interesting! It’s so colorful and I think the name is just great.

peteformation  on July 30th, 2010

He he, pucuk paku….nice add a little santan!

Drick  on July 30th, 2010

another recipe using something I have not heard of … so interesting … I just wonder what it tastes like…

Conor @ HoldtheBeef  on July 30th, 2010

I’ve never come across this plant before, but I can somehow imagine it creeping up from your belly in your sleep, hehe.

elra  on July 30th, 2010

My childhood memory, I love this vegetable.

Roti n Rice  on July 30th, 2010

I have tried a type of fern but I do not know if it is the same as this one. Must be very tasty with the homemade rice wine.

Cheah  on July 30th, 2010

This is interesting Mary. Resembles a bit like the ‘Loong sou’ veggie from Cameron Highlands. Wonder how it tastes like, is it crunchy?

Stella  on July 30th, 2010

Hey Mary, I love this dish. These ferns looks so healthful, and I bet they are the cousin to fiddlehead ferns. Do you remember seeing those all over the blogs a couple of months ago? They were in season here in some parts of the states. Anyway, nice! Me likey…

kamalika  on July 30th, 2010

I have seen midin..but never tried it….looks grt…

lisa ng  on July 30th, 2010

Mary, in the Forest alot lately ?
These are so pretty and yes in a creepy way i like. they are not available where i am.
These fern reminds me of some kind of long stalk water spinach i bought and it just came out tough and chewy. Are they chewy ? crunchy?
CookNg Sisters

Alex T  on July 30th, 2010

This looks almost identical to something I used to eat when I lived in the jungle in southern Nepal over 20 years ago. Thanks so much for reminding me about it.

Mary  on July 30th, 2010

@Nadji - Thanks very much, Nadji! :D

@anncoo - No, it doesn’t. It has a special texture of it’s own. How you get to try it one day. I think you have to pay Sarawak a visit :D

@busygran - Oh yes, definitely it would be great fried with dried prawns and belachan….mmmm. You make me drool :D

@Belinda @zomppa - Like what @suituapui said, it should be called ‘millionaire’s vegetable’ :D

@peteformation - I think it’s a type of paku…very delicate type. Haven’t tried with santan…good idea. Hope to try next time. Thanks very much for sharing :D Have to wait until I go back for holiday again.

@Drick - Now I think you have to come to Sarawak to try this :D It tastes really delicious…mmm

@Conor @ HoldtheBeef - Haha….there will be lots then cos I ate almost everyday when I was back home for holiday :D

@elra - Bet you miss it, too, like me. Make up for it when you go back for holiday…just like what I did :D

@Roti n Rice - If you did not try it in Sarawak, then it must be a different type. It’s sure really good with the rice wine….mmmm :D

@Cheah - Yes, it has a crisps texture and it’s very tasting. I think next time you should go to East Malaysia for a holiday……lots of interesting places and wonderful fruits and vegetables and other food :D

@Stella - Oh yes, they are cousins. The heads shows that they are cousins :D Oh…I have not seen it in other blogs. Would love to check it out. Thanks very much for letting me know.

@kamalika - Hope you try it next time if you get to see them. It’s very delicious. I like it very much :D

@lisa ng - Haha….if only I get the chance to go and pluck it myself…would be so fun :D It has a crisp texture…very delicious. It creeps up trees and not in water.

@Alex T - Thanks very much for visiting and for lovely comment, Alex! :D Wow…you lived in the jungle before? That must be such an experience! I wonder whether it’s the same species or maybe just cousins.

Sook  on July 30th, 2010

This looks healthy and delicious, Mary! Yum!

Julie Lynn  on July 30th, 2010

Mary, that looks so good. One of my favorite things about living in Asia was all of the different types of greens available. Wild edibles are the best.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular one though.

You’ve inspired me. Think I’ll stir fry some pea tendrils for dinner. Yum! :)

sushma mallya  on July 30th, 2010

Looks really healthy and nice

lequan@luvtoeat  on July 30th, 2010

Oh, such an interesting veggie Mary. I have never seen these before. When I first looked at the picture it reminded me of shredded water spinach (kang kong sp?). I would love to try this dish if ever given the chance. Will keep my eyes out for this veggie.

Pepy @Indonesia Eats  on July 31st, 2010

We call this paku or pakis and use for making gulai or anyang or stir fry.

Fern in Manitoba has bigger size compare to the one that I used to have in Indonesia.

Blackswan  on July 31st, 2010

Well, this is something new for me. I think it’ll be nice to add dried shrimps to stir-fry :)

the lacquer spoon  on July 31st, 2010

Thanks a lot about Malaysian food tips as always. Japan has a similar fern and I feel myself like a dinosaur when eating it :D Lovely veg, anyway!

mycookinghut  on July 31st, 2010

I have never tasted nor seen this… Really need to try out when I m back to Malaysia next time.

Rochelle (Acquired Taste)  on July 31st, 2010

These sound and look similar to our edible ferns (fiddle heads) we have here. I’ll give this a try when they come back into season next spring :D

tigerfish  on July 31st, 2010

I did not know this is called Midin though I know I have eaten similar in Taiwan. Think they were called chayote shoots - wonder if it is the same veg?

sophia  on July 31st, 2010

Ooh very fascinating! I don’t think i’ve cooked with this veggie before, though it looks familiar to me. I’m sure I’ve tried this dish somewhere. They almost look a bit noodle-y! :-)

Patty Price  on July 31st, 2010

Such a unique and beautiful green vegetable, I would love to try this:-)

Jeannie  on August 1st, 2010

Oh yes! I love this fern dish cooked the belacan way. Simply delicious! I have yet to try it cooked with red wine. I am sure it is just as delicious too! Not easy to get midin from the market though.

skip to malou  on August 1st, 2010

I never had this yet Mary. I wonder where I could buy it over here… or maybe Im not just aware of it… great learning from you again.. thanks!

penny aka jeroxie  on August 1st, 2010

To be honest, I doubt I had this before and not seem them here either…. fly some over!

Angie's Recipes  on August 1st, 2010

I have never seen these veggie…very interesting.

azelia  on August 1st, 2010

what an interesting vegetable…never heard of it before.

tasteofbeirut  on August 1st, 2010

This sounds fascinating; just the thought of a wild fern growing in Borneo would get my imagination going a mile and hour! Love how you fixed it, simple in my book is always best!

Chef Dennis  on August 1st, 2010

I think you could pretty make anything delicious!! we miss so much good food thats right outside our door…I would love to try your stirfry!

Faith  on August 1st, 2010

I’ve never heard of midin before but I’d love to find it! What an interesting plant! I bet this is a delicious stir fry!

Mimi  on August 1st, 2010

This is new for me. It looks fabulous, I would love to try it.

kkc  on August 2nd, 2010

mirin wif belacan, a good dish as well!~
so, r u sarawakian?
i m from swak!~

Mary  on August 2nd, 2010

@Sook - Thanks very much, Sook! :D

@Julie Lynn - You are going to enjoy lots of fresh green vegetables, both home grown and wild ones, when you are in Thailand. I’m sure you will enjoy the place, especially the food and sunshine :D

@sushma mallya - Thanks very much, Sushma! :D

@lequan@luvtoeat - No, this is not kangkong Kangkong grows on the ground or int he water but this one creeps up the trees.
Hope you get to try it one day :D

@Pepy @Indonesia Eats - I wonder whether this is the same one as those found in Indonesia. I guess they are being neighbour countries :D

@Blackswan - You are absolutely right. Adding dried shrimps makes this dish very delicious, too…mmmm :D

@the lacquer spoon - Haha…what a beautiful description! :D Now you make me feel like a dinosaur too…LOL

@mycookinghut - Hope you get to try it. I think it’s only available in East Malaysia. Guess you have to make a trip there for a holiday and enjoy all the food :D

@Rochelle (Acquired Taste) - Now I wonder how the fiddle heads on your side looks like. I bet they are very delicious too. Have fun cooking :D

@tigerfish - No, these are not chayote shoots. Hope you get to try this midin one day :D

@sophia - Yes, they look cute and pretty. Hope you get to try it one day again :D

@Patty Price - I do hope you get to try it one day. Maybe visit Sarawak for a holiday :D

@Jeannie - Now I wonder whether you can plant midin in your backyard :P Maybe you can give a try if you can get a portion of the plant with the roots.

@skip to malou - I don’t you can find this in the States. Looks like you have to pay Sarawak a visit…a holiday and enjoy all the fruits and food :D

@penny aka jeroxie - I have nothing to fly it over…none in Scotland! Nearer for you to fly to Sarawak to try it :D

@Angie’s Recipes - Hope one day you get to see it and try it :D It’s very delicious.

@azelia - Hope one day you get to try it :D I’m quite sure you will like it.

@tasteofbeirut - Haha….I’m trying to imagine your wild imagination! :D

@Chef Dennis - Thanks very much, Dennis! :D I’m still trying to learn more cooking. I’m inspired by your cooking!

@Faith - I hope you get to see it and try it one day :D. It’s a very delicious vegetable.

@Mimi - Thanks very much, Mimi! :D Hope you get to try it one day.

@kkc - I love midin fried with belachan, too…..mmm. Yes, I’m from Sarawak. Lovely to know we are state mate :D

radha  on August 3rd, 2010

very new veg, never saw at teh market but will look carefully in the future because it seems very tasty. About Miss Keller, i think she has no idea about meditating and growing a character in pure joy and love.

mycookinghut  on August 3rd, 2010

It’s a good idea.. I haven’t been to East Malaysia.. I’ve got another good reason to go! ;)

Ananda Rajashekar  on August 5th, 2010

Red rice wine, Ting! am awake now…..Ha ha its def, junglely! Am sure it would tasted great and healthy!

Sidney  on August 6th, 2010

This is one of my favourite food whenI visit Sarawak…best cooked with belacan…yum!! Yum!!!

Mary  on August 6th, 2010

@radha - I wonder whether you can find this jungle vegetable in the market there cos I think they are so fragile. Double they can last the distance during export, unless air flown. Hope you get to try it one day. Thanks very much for sharing :D

@mycookinghut - Oh yes, you should go….a very different experience from West Malaysia…..places of interests, fruits, food, cultures etc. A holiday there would be good for you :D

@Ananda Rajashekar - Haha…..at least my post serves a good purpose…to keep you awake! :D Next time I will cook more with red rice wine…haha

@Sidney - Bet you never miss this dish when you visit Sarawak. It’s definitely awesome with belachan…mmmm :D

Sidney  on August 7th, 2010

yes…i never miss this dish at all…recommended to everyone

{Review} Something indigenous @ The Dyak | thefoodpolice  on March 14th, 2012

[...] the popular Midin, paku is a type of edible jungle fern. The Paku Kubok Gulai Kenchala is a dish of jungle ferns [...]

Arthur Ng  on October 13th, 2012

Hi, thanks for visiting Sarawak and all the good comments. Please visit my photos collections web site if you got the change.

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