Meranti in Anchovy & Turmeric Broth


The Recipe

Name of the core ingredient: Meranti
Botanical name: Solanum nodiflorum
Other name in English: White Nightshade, Glossy Nightshade

Widely grown in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, this plant is constantly mixed up with another of its family, the Solanum Americanum. As with its Solanaceae family, most parts of the plant contain the toxins of glycoalkaloid solanine and related compounds. The unripe, green fruits are known to contain significantly higher quantities of solanine and hence are considered poisonous and should not be eaten. The ripe fruits however, have very much lower amounts of such compounds, thus are eaten by various ethnic groups of people where this plant is found.


Traditional Usage:

Locally known as sayur meranti, or sayur ranti, the tender shoots and leaves are cooked as a vegetable. Considered a forage food or village greens, it wilts very easily once picked, and easily turns mushy if kept too moist in an attempt to keep them from wilting. It is a popular local vegetable and the bitterness of the vegetable is highly sought after as it is said to contain medicinal values.


Health Benefits:

This plant is considered to be medicinal by many ethnic groups. It is widely used as a vermifuge (an agent that destroys or expels parasitic worms) and febrifuge (used to reduce fever) in Africa. The Chinese consider the plant as anti-inflammatory, heat dissipating, blood stasis dissipating and promoting subsidence of swelling.


Other uses include:

High blood pressure: Locals tend to use this plant as a traditional cure for high blood pressure, but some caution its use by people with hypertensive condition. This is because the plant contains various alkaloids that may affect the way the body naturally corrects blood pressure.

Appetite Stimulator: Those people wanting to gain weight or have lost the mood to eat, the fruits and leaves of this plant are cooked with coconut milk, and fermented fish (pekasam) to stimulate and encourage appetite.


Time needed: 25 minutes



200 grams Meranti Leaves
100 grams Water
4 grams Salt
2 Tbsp Cooking oil

Pounded Ingredients

20 grams Shallots
8 grams Garlic
6 grams Turmeric
15 grams Dried Anchovies



  1. De-stem meranti leaves and wash to remove soil
  2. Soak anchovies to rehydrate, drain excess water
  3. Blend shallots, garlic, turmeric and anchovies to a smooth paste (or pound with mortar and pestle)
  4. Heat about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan and saute the ground ingredients until fragrant
  5. Add water to simmer for a few minutes
  6. Add the meranti leaves, seasoning with salt. Stir to evenly cook the leaves. Serve hot with rice.



  1. Anchovies may be substituted with dried shrimps and prepared the same way.
  2. The amount of water may be lessened for a drier dish.

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