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Also known as
Poi saag, Malabar spinach, Mayalu.
Mayalki bhaaji or Malbar spinach is a herb common in India. It is found in many parts of the tropical parts of the world. This plant is a member of Basellaceae plant family. This is a climber with red stem succulent and twining. The leaves are alternate, broadly ovate, acute or acuminate, cordate at the base. The flowers are white or red in spikes. In Ayurveda, the leaves are used for treatment of general debility, insomnia, flatulence, anorexia. This vegetable serves as good Salad dressings and as soup ingredient.
Chopped Mayalki bhaji-refers to the finely chopped or roughly chopped mayalka leaves. They may be chopped fine or shredded as per the recipe requirements. Another interesting way of chopping them would be to chop into big chunks.
Blanched Mayalki bhaji- Cut the large leaves in pieces. Blanching can be done by boiling or steaming. Put the leaves in a wire basket, submerge them completely in the boiling water, cover with a lid, and blanch for 3-4 minutes. To blanch by steaming, put the vegetables in a steamer basket and suspend it above an inch or two of boiling water. Cover the pot, and begin timing(3-4 minutes) as soon as steam starts to escape from under the lid. With either method, shake the basket a couple of times to ensure that all vegetable surfaces are exposed to the heat. After the allotted time, remove the basket, and plunge the vegetables into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove them, drain thoroughly and add to your recipe.
Shredded mayalki bhaji- the leaves can be shredded coarsely in a shredded or manually, using a sharp knife. Cut the greens in thin slices and then break up the pieces in shreds using fingers. Shredded mayalka is used as a garnish or merely to reduce the cooking time.
Torn mayalki bhaji-Remove the leaves from the stalks and tear them roughly with your hands in small pieces. The torn leaves are usually used for blanching or as a base for salad basket.
Mayalki paste- Grind the washed and chopped leaves in a grinder. They may be ground intoa coarse or fine paste with spices as per recipe requirement.
How to select
Look for mayalki leaves that have firm, unwilted leaves that are vividly deep green in color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be more tender and have a milder flavor. They should be displayed in a chilled section in the refrigerator case to prevent them from wilting and becoming bitter.
· Serve steamed mayalki bhaji with black-eyed peas and brown rice for a Southern inspired meal.
· Use lightly steamed, cooled and chopped mayalki greens as a filling in your sushi vegetable rolls.
· Healthy sauté mayalki greens with tofu, garlic and crushed chili peppers for a meal that will definitely add spice to your life
· Cook mayalki bhaji with salt and garlic , just like any leafy vegetable is used. Bhaji pakode with gram flour or mayalki leaves with pulses may also be prepared.
How to store
Store unwashed mayalki bhaji in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag. They should be placed in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep for three to five days, but the sooner they are eaten, the less bitter they will be.
· Mayalki bhaji are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of vitamin B6, both of which are needed to keep levels of homocysteine, a potentially dangerous molecule, low.
· Mayalki bhaji are good sources of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and sulforaphane.
· They are rich in calcium, iron, zinc and Vitamin A
· In addition, mayalki bhaji are a very good source of riboflavin, another important B vitamin for cardiovascular health since it is necessary for the proper functioning of B6