Friday, December 7, 2007

Herbs- Kacang Ma

Photo (courtesy of The Star Online- Kuali)

Early this year, Sarawak State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Adenan Satem mentioned on marketability of local kacang ma herbs to overseas. There is potential of promoting kacang ma herbs to overseas markets. Only found in Sarawak, kacang ma herbs or "Leonurus sibiricus L" make its debut in 2004 Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism (MAHA) Exhibition.

Kacang ma belongs to the mint family. It is thought to have originated from China and brought to Sarawak by the Hakka. Today it is consumed by other races too!

Kacang ma’s unique flavour and aroma, is known for its special medical properties. It is effective in improving blood circulation, cardiovascular system, inducing diuresis.

Usually people use chicken as main ingredient of kacang ma, but you can substitute pork for chicken. To cook kacang ma, it is recommended to dry fry the kacang ma herbs first before add in other ingredients i.e chicken, ginger, Chinese white wine. This is to extract out the fragrance of the herbs and expedite the cooking process.

Depends on how much you put kacang ma herbs and Chinese wine, it would taste bitter for first timers. The longer you cook it, the tender and tastier your chicken would be.

My family is Hakka origin, so kacang ma is a common sight on our dining table. I love my mum’s kacang ma very much. Taste just nice, not too bitter for me. You can smell it as its smell invaded the whole kitchen! I have tasted the most bitter kacang ma before, i.e. throughout my confinement (I need to finish the chicken and soup together with its herb as well). hahaha! So, kacang ma served at coffee shops are nothing to me!
Unfortunate to say, although kacang ma is Hakka specialty, I have not try my hand on cooking kacang ma myself yet. One day, I shall get down to it! :)

My hubby’s family is Foochow origin, They seldom eat kacang ma, but they are starting to get acquire to the taste as my mum-in-law loves to eat kacang ma. She can cook her own kacang ma. Most of the time she would use the Foochow white wine, which is sweeter in taste. Hakka white wine is more bitter. My mum-in-law even planted kacang ma plant at the house’s garden in Kapit. I shall take some photos of the plant and post it on the blog when I go back end of this month!!

For those interested or do not know how to cook kacang ma, please check out this simple recipe at


kegler747 said...

I love Malaysian food! I'm from Manila and I have all over Malaysia 6x already, never been to Kuching though :)

Sue Sue said...

Hi Rose,
You r from kuching. I was there last year during trade visit and saw this Kacang Ma. So tempted to buy back and try but my colleague can't tell me how to cook it. You know guys, wouldn't know how to describe it!

Del Glamiva said...

I'm from Sabah and I got this awesome food from a friend. I've tried it for 2 days now by just making it as a tea, drink it every morning. I find it very good for people who needs fibre in their diet..wish I can find it here!