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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Melinjo ( Gnetum gnemon )

Melinjo ( Gnetum gnemon ) is native to Indonesia,Topical Asia, Melanesia and West Pasific. The color of the skin is deep red color when ripegreen when the fruit young, then becomes yellow before turning to red. It is widely used in Indonesian cuisine. In Indonesia the young seeds are used for sayur asem (sour vegetables soup) and also, ground into flour and deep-fried as crackers (emping, a type of cracker). The crackers have a slightly bitter taste and are frequently served as a snack or accompaniment to Indonesian dishes, the leaves are also commonly used for vegetables dishes. 

Common names include melinjo or belinjo (Indonesian), bago (Malay, Tagalog), muling (Acehnese) peesae (Pattani Malay), dae (Kwara'ae), phakmiang (Thai) and bét, rau bép, rau danh or gắm (Vietnamese). They are sometimes called padi oats or paddy oats.

Characteristic of the tree:
Melinjo is a tropical plant, can grow well on various types of soil, though less fertile. Melinjo can grow to a height of 1200 m above sea level but the maximum output is achieved when grow on location that height no more than 400 m above sea level.

Melinjo trees are hardwood trees and can grow up to a height of approximately 15m. Melinjo trees are hardwood trees and can grow up to a height of approximately 15m. Woody round, and has a flat surface (laevis), gray-colored bark. Branching tree is simpodial and the root of Gnetum Gnemon tree classified to the taproot (radix Primaria), the roots digging deep into the ground.

Leaves of Gnetum gnemon is a single leaf, consisting of the petiole (petiolus) and the leaf blade (lamina). The leaf blade shape is oblongus, while leaf tips is acuminatus, leaf margins integer, and pinnate leaves (penninervis). Leaves position is opposite (folia opposita) without stipules.

Dioecus unisex flowers, found on grains in dichasium branching. Located on the armpit leaves (axillary), there brachtea on each bouquet. Male flowers consist of stamens, which is topped with a line of sterile ovulum. Female flowers are in a bouquet grain, with the partially fertile ovulum, wrapped by a fleshy perigonium.

The Fruit:
The seeds are not encased by the meat, but only wrapped outer skin, the outer skin color is green when young, becomes yellow when old and change to red when the seed is ripe. There is still a shell that protects the seeds fruit seeds, the seed shell old ivory when young and become brown when ripe, seed shells is harder (horn skin) but  thinner than the outer skin, the shape of the fruit is oval.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Calcium (mg)163
Calories (cal)66
Carbohydrate (g)13.3
Fat (g)0.7
Iron (mg)2.8
Phosphorus (mg)75
Protein (g)5
Vitamin A (S.I)1000
Vitamin B1 (mg)0.1
Vitamin C (mg)100
Water (g)80
Source: Directorate of Nutrition - Department of Health of the Republic of Indonesia

Use of Melinjo:
Fruit Melinjo cannot be used just after harvest. Need additional process to enjoy Melinjo. However Melinjo is one of the raw materials for various types of cuisine are very popular in Indonesia.

Emping Melinjo.
Emping is one savory dish that is very popular and has a high economic value. Emping is a kind of cracker made ​​from Melinjo, both made ​​by flour first, as well as directly to the ground after roasting it first.

Melinjo rind consists of two parts, the outer shell tends to soft, but the inside skin is hard. Good Emping made from high quality of Melinjo.

Emping ready to be enjoyed after being fried, can be enjoyed as a snack, or additional food for varieties of Indonesia culinary, like Soto or Bakso.

On a state visit to Indonesia in 2010, one of the dishes served at the banquet in honor of the state presented President Barack Obama is Emping, Emping are supposedly one of his childhood favorite snack.

Sayur Asem.
Sayur Asem is a very popular culinary folk in Indonesia. One of the main ingredients of Sayur Asem is Melinjo, young leaves Melinjo trees and mixed with corn, beans, peanuts, and a wide variety of other vegetables. Sayur Asem is a kind of soup using tamarind main seasoning, onion, garlic, brown sugar, and salt. The taste of Sayur Asem is sweet, sour, and slightly spicy, as in; certain areas of green chili are part of the kind of culinary.

Scientific classification:
  • Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)
  •       Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular Plants)
  •           Super Division: Spermatophyta (Produces seeds)
  •               Division: Gnetophyta
  •                   Class: Gnetopsida
  •                       Order: Gnetales
  •                           Family: Gnetaceae
  •                               Genus: Gnetum
  •                                   Species: Gnetum gnemon