Parkia speciosa - long, flat edible beans with bright green seeds the size and shape of plump almonds, which have a rather peculiar smell..... like methane gas.
So says Wikipedia. Sounds glamorous, eh. Fret not; it's good old petai to you and I, delicious when turned into sambal tumis, or eaten raw with sambal belacan and/or budu.
Don't know where the article below originated from, so I can't really vouch for its authenticity. It landed in my mail via MACOBA and quoting UKM, so I would like to think it's the real deal (I am sooo easily 'kow-timmed' by the internet... sighh)
Amusing in places, and smell somewhat suspicious, but one hell of a good read. For all it is worth, this gem could have been penned by some creative spark with a very fertile imagination AND with a petai orchard to boot!
Any which way, it does make perfect sense to take a second look at good old petai. I wonder if they already have petai in tablet form, as a health supplement, these days...
A Petai A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Petai contains three natural sugars -sucrose, fructose and glucose. Combined with fibre, petai gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost ofenergy.
Research has proved that just two servings of petai provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout (Really? Personally speaking, after two servings of petai and budu, I'd be 'terbungkang' like a beached whale!)
No wonder petai is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes (Eh, betul ka ni... haven't heard of Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay whacking petai before any of their races, though....)
But energy isn't the only way petai can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND (what's this acronym, people?) among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating petai.
This is because petai contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS (premenstrual syndrome): Forget the pills - eat petai. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood. (Listen ladies, it's petai or bust!)
Anaemia: High in iron, petai can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure.
So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the petai industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke (waaahhhhh..)
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating petai at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.
(Biar betul...! Our London correspondents should check this out. This kind of story, about a whole bunch of Mat Salleh kids munching on petais three times daily just to get smart is truly mind-boggling, man!)
(These Twickenham kids should make a go at those brain-power 'kismis' as well. One 'kismis' a day and ZAP! they'll turn into instant Eisnteins!)
Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fibre, including petai in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives (Okaaay, I can manage this one without input from London correspondents..)
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey (Aha aha! Somebody's gonna puke all over again!)
The petai calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Petai has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating petai for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on petai between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness (Eerr, t'salright, you're already pregnant, no need to antagonise the poor man further la; just stick to 'not tonight dear, I've got a headache/backache..')
Mosquito Bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Petai is high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight: Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs.
The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady. (Heh, where's petai in this equation? See, this is where my problem starts. Petai and Austria just don't jive...)
Ulcers: Petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness.
It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature Control: Many other cultures see petai as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers.
In Holland, for example, pregnant women eat petai to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature (Wah, so considerate these mothers-to-be. I whack petai because it goes well with sambal belacan and budu only..)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Petai can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan. (In other words, to cheer you up la, and not to keep you perpetually sad)..
Smoking: Petai can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
[This one is pure hogwash lah. Any pre-schooler can tell you that. Smokers quit because they want to. If they don't want to, you make them eat petai by the lorryloads also they won't stop. They''ll be a helluva lot fatter, even stinkier, but they won't give up smoking, trust me).
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance.
When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium petai snack.
Strokes: According to research in 'The New England Journal of Medicine, 'eating petais as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%'. (Haaa, takmau mati cepat kalo, makan petai!)
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of petai and place it on the wart. Carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
(Now, if you see me with a petai taped to my arm, you'll know it's just wart and NOT a fashion statement, ok?)
So maybe it's time to change that well-known phrase to 'A Petai A Day Keeps The Doctor Away'. I say, bring on the petais folks!
[Please excuse me; I have this sudden urge to check out petai orchards for sale...]
PS: For more credible reading, please substitute 'banana' for 'petai'; THAT's the real deal, so I've been told. Ahaha ha.. dunia, dunia... macam-macam ada..!