The beauty of country cooking lies in its simplicity and innovative way of dishing something out of ordinary ingredients while teasing the palettes of the most finicky eater. While the urbanites might find some of these exotic, their rural counterparts would just talk about it like everyday home remedies to many ailments.
Today, I came across this greens called Bathua at my local Indian supermarket. This strange looking bunch of greens is known by interesting names such as lamb’s quarters, goosefoot and fat-hen. Well, this is basically a weed which could be a pain as most weeds are but is cultivated in some regions for its supposedly health benefits. You can research the benefits of these leaves on the web to check for yourself.
Here’s something that I did with these Lamb’s Quarter weeds and enjoyed today.
1 bunch Bathua Greens ,washed and chopped small (discard flowers)
3 small red or white potatoes, cubed
1 small tomato, diced small
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. urad dhal
1/4 Red onion, chopped fine (if small, use 1 whole)
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 dry, red chilli pepper, broken in half
1 sprig curry leaves (washed)
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
A big pinch asafoetida powder
To taste salt
1/2 cup water
Method: Heat oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
Add cumin seeds and when it stops spluttering, add urad dhal. When this turns golden, add asafoetida powder, chopped onions, red chilli pepper, curry leaves and sauté till onions turn golden brown. This process is called tempering or seasoning.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, and turmeric powder and cook on medium heat until tomatoes turn soft. Then, add the chopped potatoes and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the chopped greens and sauté very well and then add the garbanzo beans, sauté.
Add salt, stir and add water. Cover and cook on medium heat until done and all liquid is evaporated but not dry.
Serve hot with Indian breads like naans, chapatis, or rotis.
This dish could also be enjoyed as an accompaniment to a meal of rice, and rasam (pepper water), papadum (a thin lentil fried or microwaved wafer), and Indian pickle on a cold, rainy weather, the South Indian way.
Something to Note: Asafoetida should be used sparingly as its flavor can be overwhelming otherwise.