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Updated: June 10, 2012 20:19 IST

Go green

Varghese Joy Thoppil
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VITAMIN-RICH Bathua or wild spinach
VITAMIN-RICH Bathua or wild spinach

RECIPE Serve hot rotis with a bathua-potato side dish

White goosefoot or bathua as it is called in northern India is extensively cultivated and consumed in that region as a food crop. It is also referred to as lamb's quarters or wild spinach and is rich in vitamin A, C, B6, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and protein. Its leaves can be eaten raw, in salads, or cooked like spinach.

The leaves and young shoots may be cooked and eaten as a leaf vegetable but in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid. The leaves have a wavy or coarsely-toothed margin with a soft grey or white mealy coating (wax coating). In India, the plant is abundant in the winter season. The leaves and the shoots are used in Punjabi dishes such as Sarson da Saag, parathas and soups. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi (gruel type dishes) in Himachal Pradesh.

Bathua is used to treat some skin conditions, and the oil made from the leaves is used to treat hookworm. It is very effective in eliminating kidney stones. The consumption of the leaf extract helps relieve menstrual problems in women and urinary tract infections.

Now, for a recipe.

Bathue Ki Sabji

Ingredients

Bathua leaves: 250 gm

Potatoes: 250 gm

Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds: half tsp

Asafoetida powder, a pinch

Salt: half tsp

Red chilli powder: half tsp

Coriander powder: half tsp

Turmeric powder: half tsp

Dried mango powder: 1 tsp

Method: Remove the stems of the bathua leaves. Wash the leaves several times to ensure that all the dirt is removed. Cook the bathua in water. Drain the water and grind the bathua coarsely without adding any water. Boil the potatoes separately. Cool and skin them. Break them into small pieces with your fingers. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder to the pan. Wait till the cumin seeds crackle. Add the rest of the spices, except amchur, and fry them for a few seconds. Add the potatoes and drained bathua leaves and mix well. Turn down the heat and cook for a few minutes. Add amchur powder and mix well. Turn off the heat.

Sous Chef

Taj Club House

Keywords: White goosefoot

Bathua(Pig weed)(Chenapodium album) is a herbaceous weed found in paddy fields,interspaces of coconut gardens and in marshy waste lands.Seeds are in plenty in inflorescences and get spread through wind,water and manure.Along with inflorescence bathua is used as a leaf vegetable by rural folk.In Chennai the leaves are bundled and marketted by vegetable vendors.As a vegetable it is rich in fibres,minerals and vitamin A.Bathua is cooked in pans without adding water as the leaves have 65-75% water.Leaves and stem together are cooked in pans adding onion,chilli,salt, ginger powder etc.Bathua is a ready to cook leaf vegetable during offseasons and seasons when other leaf vegetables like amaranth,palak,methi etc are costly and unavailable to be afforded by common man.Now bathua based dehydrated leaves,leaf powders and mixes are available for ready cooking or mixing with other vegetable preparations like soup.Bathua leaf is also feed to poultry,goat,rabbits and ornamental birds.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Jun 15, 2012 at 15:04 IST
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