Bathua (Cheel Bhaji)
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Also known as
Cheel bhaji, chill bhaji, bathuas, lamb's-quarter, Paruppu Keerai.
Bathua or lamb's-quarter is a leafy vegetable found during the winter months. A wild relative of the spinach plant, in India it is cooked in much the same way as spinach. The leaves have a wavy or coarsely-toothed margin with a soft grey or white mealy coating (wax coating) on young leaves and the underside of mature leaves.
Wash and drain the leaves and stalks thoroughly. Gently roll the leaves as a bunch together and cut them straight in downward direction, preferably on a chopping or a wooden board. Now place the cut leaves in horizontal position and again cut it straight in downward direction. This is the chopped khatta bhaji.
The leaves and stems are edible and absolutely delicious, with an earthy, mineral- can be compared rich flavour that to spinach. This herb is one of the most nutritious wild foods you can eat.
How to Select
Bathua is available at most Indian vegetable vendors. Choose the firm, dark green variety. See to it that it is fresh and free from any insect infestation.
1. The young leaves and smaller stems can be eaten raw in salads. It can be used to make delicious raita or used as a stuffing for pakodas.
2. Bathua/Paruppu Keerai can be mixed with other greens and lentils to make dals. It may also be combined with potatoes to make a lovely vegetable dish.
3. Also, try adding it to dough to give a distinctive taste to rotis, puris and parathas.
How to Store
Since it as a green leafy vegetable, it has a low shelf life due to high moisture content. Once the moisture starts losing and cheel bhaji gradually starts wilting. So it is preferable to use it up as soon as possible. You can store it by wrapping it either in a paper or in perforated net bags under refrigeration temperature. It will last its freshness just for 2-3 days.
1. Bathua finds a use in the treatment of some skin conditions, and the oil made from these leaves is used to treat hook worms.
2. It is rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, trace minerals, iron and fibre.
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