Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Purslane–a nutritional powerhouse, not a weed
by Nanette Geller
Most Americans think of purslane as a weed. Yes, even in Hawaii you may be muttering under your breath as you pull it out from your garden. Next time, try weeding with a fork!
Purslane is, in fact, a nutritional powerhouse, with more heart-healthy omega-3 than any other green vegetable. It’s commonly eaten in India, Asia, the Mediterranean and Mexico and is delicious raw or cooked. It has a pleasantly tart flavor with a succulent, juicy texture. Raw, it is slightly crunchy, especially the stems.
I’ve been buying purslane almost every Saturday from Otsuji Farms at KCC. Sometimes I just put it out on a platter with other veggies to be eaten as-is. Otherwise, I make a simple salad, tossing coarsely-chopped purslane with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, onion, pepper and salt. Depending on what I have on hand, I may add some sliced radishes, chopped tomato, or chopped Italian parsley. Leftovers keep well, especially if I only salt the portion I’m serving. This is so good that until last week I haven’t really experimented with other preparations.
I was inspired by learning that purslane was one of Gandhi's favorite vegetables. A quick internet search for Indian purslane recipes yielded several for dal. I made masoor dal (red split lentils) with chilies, onion, garlic, tomato, ginger and spices. When the dal was done, I added a lot of purslane, chopped into fairly small pieces, and simmered just until the purslane was tender. Larry made chapattis, and we really didn’t need much else for a satisfying dinner.
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