WEEKENDS WITH NATURE: How to Eat Rattan’s Inner Core

Weekends are more than just a time to rejuvenate both mind and body. For working moms, it’s a perfect time to reconnect with the people they care about the most and a time to reconnect with themselves.

Sometimes the most neglected person in a working mother’s life is herself and before she knows it she has forgotten how extraordinarily loving and creative she can be, not only in the organization she works with but most of all in her family and personal life.

One of my favorite ways to spend weekends and make them count is spending time with my family and with nature. I guess I’m just lucky to have been born and raised in this part of the country where the forests remain rich with Mother Nature’s bounty. I’ve been here all my life but nature never runs out of wonderful surprises to amaze the little child in me.

Recently, for instance, I discovered how to eat the inner core of a plant called rattan. I heard of rattan before, of course. I saw exquisite pieces of furniture made of rattan in friends’ houses or hotel lobbies, but rattan on my dinner table? That’s crazy!

I saw exquisite pieces of rattan furniture in hotel lobbies, but I never imagined seeing rattan as a dish.
I saw exquisite pieces of rattan furniture in hotel lobbies, but I never imagined seeing rattan as a dish. (photo credits: pixabay.com)

And so one Saturday I took the kids to the farm where my husband works. I remember once when we went there to visit a colony of the endangered Philippine Flying Foxes, we went through a narrow trail in the forest teeming with rattan. They didn’t look like the most friendly among the plant species in the forest. In fact, they looked just like the opposite. Little did I know that deep inside this tough, thorny creature is a soft, palatable inner core that can add a delicious side dish to your meal.

                   Rattan grows in abundance in the forests of Bukidnon, Philippines


Unfortunately I didn’t get to see how one of the locals took stems of rattan from the forest, but when he brought them to my kitchen this is how they looked like.

how to cook rattan
Stems of rattan, thorns removed.

So they took four pieces of these and cooked them on top of an open fire, with the thorns removed and the hard outer core in tact to protect the core from burning. After a few minutes, as soon as they see the outer covering charred, they remove them from the fire and peel out the burnt external covering, exposing the soft and cooked inner core.

Carefully, they removed the inner core and placed them nicely on a plate.

cooked rattan inner core
Cooked rattan inner core with shrimp paste and calamansi juice.

They then made the dressing. Now this isn’t one of your sophisticated salad dressings. It’s sour and salty mixture of shrimp paste and calamansi juice.

It was absolutely amazing. Weekend dates with our loved ones need not be expensive. A simple Saturday such as this at the farm is all I need to take my mind off from work, reconnect with my spouse and children and appreciate the gifts of nature.

What is your idea of a meaningful weekend with the ones you love? I’d appreciate it if you could share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this far and I’ll see you again next time!


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