Keladi kemahang is a variety of yam usually found in swampy area in Pahang. Pahangites especially those living in the Central of Pahang (from Raub all the way to Lipis) regard this yam as one of their traditional vegetable. It is said that you need to recite certain prayers and cut the inner young shoots in a certain way to avoid the clear sap from oozing out. The clear sap could cause itchiness and rendering the entire vegetable to be inedible even after it being cooked.
I have a few nifty kitchen tips that I have used for years to ensure the clear sap does not bother my throat with its itchiness. Back in the old days when everything was an easy reach in the garden, I have used buah pinang (areca catechu) to be boiled together with the shoots. The chemical reaction from the buah pinang will neutralize the sap. Alternatively, I have used coconut water to boil the shoots. Just drain the liquid away leaving boiled shoots already tender and ready to be cooked.
Keladi kemahang is generally cooked in Malay curry style – meaning the main mixture consists of fresh tumeric, lemon grass, shallots and plenty of birds eye chilis. A generous scoop of tempoyak (fermented durian) and sometimes slivers of fresh petai (stinky beans) complete the dish. I love adding shredded fresh tumeric leaves for extra aroma and some coconut milk to finish off the cooking.
Best eaten with hot, steamed white rice and I can tell you, no steak can rival this dish…well, at least from a Pahangite’s perspective….