Why you should care
Because these meat-eating plants are also deliciously sweet.
You may not have spotted nepenthes on menus, but there’s still room to include them in your home cooking. The beauty of these vibrant plants can be deceiving. These exotic “pitcher plants” are actually carnivores (cue the soundtrack to Little Shop of Horrors), munching on flies, rats and even lizards in their native countries of Asia and Australia.
In Malaysia, these gobblers are often eaten with sticky rice and vegetables. In the United States, chefs have yet to discover their gourmet potential. Domonick Gravine, owner of RedLeaf Exotics in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, is hoping to make nepenthes a decorative staple in people’s homes (and maybe their diets); he sells the exotic beasts online.
You can fill them halfway with moistened Thai rice and steam (try steaming in coconut milk) — but at $80 a pop, you might be better off keeping them as decoration. Here’s the drink recipe using the sugar from nepenthes featured in the video above and starring OZY’s Rooted plant-based food show host, Nick Shippers.
Calamansi Butterfly Pea Powder Limeade
- 3 tablespoons of simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water, 1 part butterfly pea powder)
- Several large ice cubes
- 1 cup mineral or soda water of your choice
- Juice from one fresh lime or calamansi
- Fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon basil seeds
Mix soda or mineral water with simple syrup until it dissolves. Add lime juice to change the color. Garnish with fresh mint, basil seeds and a slice of lime.