It may look like saffron, it even does what saffron does (impart a yellow-orange hue to food) but kasubha is not saffron. The Tagalog Wikipedia got it wrong.
While saffron is derived from the saffron crocus, kasubha comes from the Carthamus tinctorius or, as it is more commonly known, safflower. Click here and here to see how different the two plants are from one another.
The really curious thing is how kasubha is being marketed as saffron.
That 20 gram jar of kasubha costs P36.25 (about USD0.84).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using kasubha. Cooking is about using what’s available and sustainable cooking is partly about using what’s locally available. Still, it bothers me that unscrupulous business entities are trying to hoodwink the public with such a misrepresentation. I knew it was kasubha when I bought that P36.25 jar. A small packet (half the size of a packet of yeast) of real saffron costs almost P300.00. I bought the jar of “saffron” primarily to blog about it — to more precise, to blog about the mislabeling and misrepresentation. And to use the content as kasubha in ways that I have always used it — to cook “goto” or tripe congee, arroz caldo…
The “goto” recipe is coming up next.