Winter, a season which is extremely special to me when it comes to the food factor. Winter for me is the longing for comfort food and incorporating seasonal vegetables and fruits in my recipes, and creating the most nutritious meals. Finally, sitting and enjoying them with my family over laughter, fun and reminiscing about the good old days too. Since my childhood, my mother made sure that we as a family get to taste each seasonal ingredient and leverage its health benefits at the same time. Here, I will talk about one such fresh leafy vegetable, which might not be a lot popular in Maharashtra, but entire north India literally swears by it during the chilly season! Yes, it’s the gorgeous bathua saag – a green as distinctive in taste as in its benefits. Also known as wild spinach, bathu in Punjabi and by other local names depending upon the region, the taste of these greens is slightly salty, which turns creamy in texture when made into a paste. One tip that you must remember while picking these is making sure to choose the firm and dark green ones, as these are fresh and free from insects. Also, bathua has a low shelf life, so should ideally be consumed within 2-3 days.
And before I go onto the rest of the good things about bathua, I’m sharing 2 unique, tasty and easy to make snack dishes that can easily become the ‘star’ at your upcoming Christmas or New Year house party.
Ever imagined a saag with nachos? I guess, no! Try this recipe and get ready for those compliments! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBbKtWVt5h4
And for the ones who love their samosas, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUsYp0ePAFI will be quite the stunner!
Down the memory lane…
I have some of the most precious memories attached to this winter special. My maa used to spend endless hours in the kitchen to prepare batches of sarson ka saag, which also had a generous share of bathua as well as fresh palak in it, making it all the more hearty and just perfect for the freezing winters of the North. We used to relish it with garmagaram makki di rotis and freshly churned homemade safed makkhan. I can give up the fanciest of foods, for this combination, till today! It has been, is and will always remain special for me. And for you all, here’s the recipe of this particular version of sarson ka saag: https://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/Recipe/Sarson-kja-Saag-SK-Khazana.html
What makes bathua special?
Our eating habits change during the winters as the human body tends to have an increased appetite. So, when you opt for eating delicious food, why not make it wholesome too. Adding bathua to your diet not only makes it loaded with flavours and textures, but also bring in a good dose of vitamins, minerals, fibre, iron, calcium, antioxidants and other essential nutrients that help boosting the immunity system as well as the general well-being of the body. Amazing, right?
Apart from this, read on to know why this leafy veggie is nothing less than a ‘gem!’
Chewing raw bathua leaves can cure mouth ulcers, dental pyorrhoea, bad breath and other dental issues.
If you suffer from anaemia, make sure to have bathua. It is rich in iron, hence, known to cure iron deficiency.
Acts as a strong blood purifier when eaten along with neem leaves. All you need to do is to chew 2-3 leaves of both together.
Applying bathua paste to wounds or burns can help cure them.
It is great for treating kidney stones and other urinary tract infections. The extract from the leaves is known to relieve menstrual-related issues.
Bring in bathua in your meals!
Raitas, cheelas, paranthas, puris, sabzis, dals et al. You can add this lovely green to literally everything and anything. I say, go ahead and make some chatpata salads or healthy bathua shots for that daily dose of awesomeness wrapped in nutrition. Apart from this, here’s a list that is my personal favourite, as I totally think that these recipes are worth mentioning.
Bathue ki Sabzi, Bathua Raita and Bathua Cheela from my bank of recipes that are really simple, fuss-free, quick and are total flavour bombs! Pair them with each other or have all by themselves, each one of this dish is just super in itself. If you ask me, I love the sabzi with hot phulke and a side of shalgam achar. So, next time you’re in the market and spot these vibrant greens, pick up a bundle or two, make sure to come back home, clean them up real good and cook these for your loved ones.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.