Seafood Scented Pepper Leaf Broth


The Recipe

An off-road inspiration from Nyonya Heritage’s Perut Ikan

Name of the core ingredient: Kadok

Botanical name: Piper sarmentosum

Other name in English: Wild Pepper Leaf

Vietnamese name: La Lot

The kaduk plant is a ground creeper with long stems that root at the nodes. Its leaves are bright green, tender, and has longish heart shapes with 5-7 distinct veins. The flower is a short, erect, white spike with many tiny blooms. Fruits are berries that ripen deep purple. This plant can be found from the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Northeast India and South China, and as far as the Andaman Islands. It grows very well without the sun, in the shade, and prefers a hot and humid climate all day and night long. It needs a moderate amount of water, as it is prone to root rot and yellowing leaves. However, if it does not have enough water, the leaves will look weak and droopy. It survives well in sandy and poor soils, with very infrequent fertilisation.


Traditional Usage:

The dried ripened flower is used as a spice. The leaves taste slightly bitter, and has a faint pepper smell. Sometimes, food is wrapped in the leaves and eaten, with leaf intact. It is widely used in traditional medicine as chemical analysis has shown that the leaves contain the antioxidant naringenin, while the fruit contains anti-tuberculosis and anti-plasmodial elements.


Health Benefits:

In Malaysian and Singaporean traditional medicine, the leaves are boiled in water and taken to relieve fever in malaria, and also to treat coughs, flu and rheumatism. The decoction is applied as a body rub for general weakness and pain in the bones. The leaves are pounded and used as a poultice for headache, and applied to the throat for coughs. The leaves may also used in embrocation for skin discolouration.


Other uses include:

Diuretic: The juice of the leaves are blended with sweetened milk, which helps to stimulate urination. It is also helpful in the maintenance of water levels in the body.

Colic: A quick cure for colic, the leaves are spread with castor oil, gently warmed and put on the stomach of the new-born child. This will quickly reduce the spasms and soothe away the pain from the agony of colic.

Lactation stimulation: Consumption of these leaves on its own after meal times at night is advised and encouraged for lactating moms as it helps to stimulate a heavier load of lactation.

Other oral treatments: For persistent coughs and asthma, the roots are mixed with betel nut and chewed, while the juice is swallowed. For toothaches, they are chewed with ginger, and can also keep bad breath at bay whilst fortifying the gums and avoiding tooth decay.



Pounded ingredients

35 grams Shallots
20 grams Red Chilli
15 grams Lemongrass
35 grams Bunga Kantan (torch ginger)
20 grams Dried Chilli
12 grams Shrimp Paste


100 grams Daun Kadok (Pepper Leaf)
2 grams Kafir Lime Leaves
40 grams Daun Kesum
4 grams Dried Tamarind
200 grams Brinjal
400 grams Pineapple
250 grams Fresh Coconut Milk
700 grams Water
250 grams Medium Prawn


70 grams Fish Sauce



  1. Pre-soak dried chili (cut into pieces) to rehydrate. Pound with the rest of the
  2. Place water and pounded ingredients into a soup pot, simmer until aromatic
  3. Finely shred the daun kadok and kafir lime leaves
  4. Cut brinjal, pineapple and long beans into 1 cm batons
  5. Shell the body of the prawns, leaving the head and tail intact. Devein.
  6. Add the brinjal, pineapple and long beans to the broth. Simmer until ingredients are tender
  7. Add the finely shredded leaves and also the kesum leaves
  8. Cook for about another 10 minutes to infuse flavors
  9. Season the broth with fish sauce, adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  10. Add in the coconut milk and prawns, cook for about 4 minutes or until prawns are just cooked
  11. Serve hot, may be eaten as is or with rice or rice noodles. More pineapples may be added for a sweeter taste.
  12. This dish taste better the next as it matures, and the flavours becomes more robust.

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