Mushroom is everyone’s favorite around the globe. Aside of its property as healthy food, which is because it has fiber as plant does, and it also has amino acids which normally found in animal tissues. This makes mushroom a good vegan substitute for meat.
Throughout the globe, mushroom comes from both cultivation (i.e. shiitake, oyster mushroom, maitake, enokitake, etc) and also mushroom hunting in the wild (i.e. black trumpet, truffle, chanterelle, morel, etc), and even mushroom hunting is one known tradition during fall season. Interestingly, the mushroom species gathered from the wild has very indulgent price, soaring up from USD 10 per kilos to USD 10,500 per kilos (truffle).
In Indonesia, wild edible mushroom is less known than the cultivated one. There are plenty of them are available in this country, such as:
- So mushroom (Javanese: So = Gnetum gnemon plant) or Scleroderma aurantium, which are edible when it is till young
- Bantilung mushroom, native on Kalimantan island
- Supa kelapa (Calvatia sp)
- Suung bulan/Moon mushroom (Gymnopus sp)
- Kulat Pelawan/Pelawan mushroom (Heimioporus sp)
This time, we will explore the most pricy and valuable of them all: Pelawan mushroom from Bangka island, which price could stand to USD 200 per kilos!
What makes the facts about this mushroom even crazier is: It is rare because it grows only on Pelawan tree (Tristaniopsis merguensis Griff) that grown in Bangka (as people claimed so far) only during rainy season, then IT GROWS ONLY IN A TREE WHICH HAS BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!
Probably it sounds like a magic stuff comes from your fantasy book. But it is actually make sense if you see it from scientific side. Lightning is actually contributing on atmospheric nitrogen fixation (turning atmospheric nitrogen, N2, into NO or nitrous oxide compounds, which later carried to the ground by rain, forming NO3 or nitrate, a plant nutrient) which is 5-8% of total nitrogen fixation (Noxon, 1976; Anonymous, 2011). Other things, I heard it from my biology lecturer that plant growth would be amplified under strong electric induction, and this is the reason why the plants grow under the electric grid are bigger than normal – this should has some connection with the nutrient flows.
The Pelawan tree and the mushroom forms a mutual symbiosis relationship. The mushroom grows as an ectomycorrhizae in the tree roots (Tasuruni, 2012). As the mushroom gets its place to live, the tree obtains extra nutrients as the fungal hyphae extends the surface area of the root hair.
Okay, stop with the crazy science talk.
So I decided to order the dried mushroom online, IDR 200k (USD 20) for 100 g via Tokopedia (here). Surprisingly, my order arrived on the next day!
First impression upon unboxing: The mushroom has very strong smoky flavor. Then I soaked the mushroom for around 15 mins (some said that I supposed to soak it overnight) and then I cut the stalks.
Then I sliced the mushroom, and prepared some fettuccine.
Then I sauteed the mushroom with olive oil, add the mushroom water, some seasonings (salt and pepper only, since I wanted to try it naturally), and as the flavor is very strong, I added some dash of cream on it.
Even after I added some cream, the smoky flavor was still very strong. I wonder how should I cook it as pasta dish and as Indonesian Bangka original dish.
Today, I decided to give it to my friend, Daniel Vigone from MammaRosy Kemang Jakarta. I wonder how he’s gonna cook it.
And I think the story will continue, as I planned to go to Bangka to investigate the Pelawan forest in Namang village for myself this May or June.
(To be continued)
KULAT PELAWAN – Heimioporus sp
Family: Boletaceae (in the same family as Porcini or Cep, Boletus edulis)
Distribution: Supposedly endemic on Bangka island, Pelawan Forest on Namang Village
Price: IDR 2 million/USD 200 per kilograms
Anonymous, 2011. The Nitrogen Cycle, https://www.saylor.org/content/BIO_Kimball/users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/N/NitrogenCycle.html, accessed April 9th, 2018
Noxon, J.F., 1976. Atmospheric nitrogen fixation by lightning. Geophysical Research Letters, 3(8), pp.463-465.
Tasuruni, D., 2012. Morphological and ITS rDNA Sequences Analysis of Pelawan Ectomycorrhizal Edible Mushroom and its Ectomycorrhizal Structure. Thesis. Institut Pertanian Bogor.