Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do you know about Cendawan Busut or Kulat Pusu?

I'm sure many of us love to eat mushroom and they are really delicious and healthy food. Some of the ones that are common include button mushroom, oyster mushroom, portabello mushroom, shitake mushroom etc. These types of mushroom we can plant and commercialize them. Locally, the more traditional ones include cendawan sikat (kulat sisir), cendawan telinga kera and cendawan busut.

I would like to talk about cendawan busut or kulat pusu.

Personally, this type of cendawan is the best tasting of all, apart from portabello....normally we'll make it into a 'soup' or 'gulai kuning'. It is yummy and the flesh of the good ones taste like chicken. The whole family love it and I'm sure if you were to ask the older generations, they will not reject that. Its white in colour and as the name suggest, it normally grows near pusu / busut area, normally after rain and some say after rain and lightning.This species of mushroom could not be planted by human (so far) and it only grows on its own and you can't predict where it will grow next. This mushroom is claimed to be closely associated with termites and the mycelium is actually farmed by the termites themselves and the genus is called Termitomyces.

The best time to pick the mushroom is early in the morning when the sun is still low. As the sun rise, the 'umbrella' of the mushroom will slowly open up and it will die soon after that. The best ones are those ones where the 'umbrella' is not yet opened. When picking the mushroom, you need to be careful to remove it from the ground as it can be more than 1 foot long. So you'll have to dig the soil around the mushroom before removing the plant'll get dirty for sure. Some inexperience people would just try to pull it out which will surely break them apart. All you need to do after that is cleaned them with water and make sure no insects or small animals attached to it before cooking. Do not remove the skin as it will destroy the taste.

My latest encounter with the mushroom was during my driving back from Kuantan to KL on Sunday morning 21.3.2010, it was raining the whole day in Kuantan the day before. We decided to follow the old road as it could be more interesting. I was surprised to see the largest concentration of cendawan busut all the way from Kuantan to Maran. People were selling them by the road side and we bought RM 10 worth of mushroom, perhaps more than 1 kilogram. When I saw that, immediately I put on the brakes and stopped at the stall. They were beautiful, fresh and in abundance. That was the first time in my life where I saw a substantial quantity of the cendawan busut and it was just awesome...I even though of buying as much as possible and sell them in KL....but we did not because the challenge is you need to sell them on the same day as soon as possible....later in the day, the mushroom will turn bad and not worth eating anymore. At home, we stored them in the fridge so that it does not bloom further.

The last time I saw the mushroom was 2 - 3 years ago when I saw an Indian guy selling the same mushroom by the roadside near Jalan Kuching and it attracted many people, RM10 per kilo and it was sold in split second, although the quality of the mushroom is less than that of Kuantan.

There you go....well, if you see this mushroom...stop and buy! It's not available everyday, can't grow them and can't buy them in stores. This is one exotic local food which the younger generations should know that they exist and they are edible.

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