Bathua is a green leaf vegetable, grown in Northern India as a winter crop. In many parts of the world it is considered a weed and goes by funny name such as, fat hen, goose foot, lamb quarters, pigweed etc. I am sure most of you are familiar with it even if you don’t recognise by name, you might have seen one or two bathua plant popping up in your backyard with dandelions. It is a delicious edible green loaded with vitamins and minerals. Depending on where you live it can be found in Indian stores, local farmer’s market and your backyard.
Here’s how it looks like:-
The leaves have a waxy coating on the underside which needs to be washed thoroughly before using. You just can’t rinse them off under water but have to submerge them in a sink or basin of water and really swish them around. In Punjab it is used in dishes like Saag (cooked greens), raita (yogurt with fresh herbs and spices), red lentil soup, stuffed paratha and stir-fry.
Its also a great substitute for spinach and adds a soft crunch to salads and can be blended into smoothies for a great source of vitamins. I am actually fond of eating bathua greens cooked with a bit of olive oil and garlic and then serve with kadhi or any yogurt or cheese based food. That’s because bathua contain oxalic acid (like all members of spinach family), which interfere with calcium utilization unless eaten with a good source of calcium at the same meal.
- 500 g bathua leaves (unsprayed)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cumin seeds
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp crushed tomatoes (optional)
- salt to taste
- 2-3 green chillies
- Wash the greens thoroughly and chop.
- Heat oil in a pan, sizzle cumin seeds and saute garlic.
- Stir in bathua. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-4 minutes until soft.
- Uncover, add tomato paste, green chilli and salt. Mix.
- Now cook on high till water dries up.