Prawn pui metuli malabar spinach fruit ghonto
By Barnali Dutta, published by Prasadam:Prep time: 00:10 | Cook time: 00:15 | Total time: 00:20 | Yield: 3 servings
Noticing my mom’s joyous spark in her eyes, while seeing the fruits of pui, I embraced her fondly and she encouraged me to cook the "chingri pui metuli with sweet pumpkin",the edible black berry mishmash ghonto. My mother recalled the varieties of shak or leafy vegetables once widely available in the locality. The most favorite shak or herbs included Kalmee, Kochu pata, Nona, Bathua, Dheki, Gima..., no less than forty different varieties are eaten and now because of less availability of leafy vegetables people are forced to buy less and consequently follow only experimentally proven best recipes among the thousands of great recipes.
While seeing the basket full of ripened seeds of “pui metuli” my mom recalled childhood memories of their kitchen garden, the “pui creeper” on a bamboo trellis beside the kitchen door covered with little blackish purple coloured berries as at that time Bangalees were greatly depended to manage their livestock at their homes. She liked what I cooked today, our one of the beloved winter vegetable curries "Prawn pui metuli ghonto".
Edible blackberry malabar spinach fruit mishmash - Mom's Recipe
- Tender pui metuli with stem, cut into 1/2 inch , 2 cups
- Yellow pumpkin, cubed , 1 cup
- Fresh prawn , 200g
- Oil , 3 tsp
- Onion seeds or kalongi , 1 tsp
- Onion chopped , 1/2 cup
- Minced green chillies , 2 tsp
- Turmeric , 1 tsp
- Salt and sugar , as required,
- Season the prawn with salt and turmeric,
- Heat oil, add kalonji, green chillies and onion.
- When onion is translucent add prawn and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, then add pumpkin followed by berries with stem.
- Add salt and sugar to taste. Mix well and cover to let it simmer.
- Wait for 10 minutes and Bengali pui metuli ghonto will be ready by then.
She recalls one Boul tune [Bengali folk songs] from very far and I felt blessed when searched and found the lyrics.
Dhin taker beta tin tak,
Aami dite thaki, tui kete thak;
O tor ma redhechhe pui shak!
Ami dite thaki tui khete thak.
....................................……..Pupular folk couplet, author unknown
“Tin tak, the son of Dhin tak, I keep giving the pui green what your mother cooked, you keep eating,” Malabar Spinach is not really a spinach, but tastes very similar, you can call it summer spinach. This fast growing vine is succulent with tender leaves and is very heat tolerant. The meaty pea-size berries, dark blackish-purple juicy fruits follow the flowers, which adds an ornamental dimension with heart-shaped leaves. The juice fruit is sometimes used as a dye.
The seeds of the plant in Bengali called “pui metuli”; metuli means “mete or liver”, the animal protein which is rich in iron may be because it has the chemical composition which includes proteins, fat, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron, which significantly increases red blood cell count, white blood cell count, packed cell volume, haemoglobin concentration and platelet count which is very beneficial in the treatment of anemia. Basella alba contains β carotene.However, the extract reduced the activity of the liver enzymes such as ALP, ALT and AST.
It is so much astonishing that with nothing that even remotely resembled the laboratories and research technology that we have access today our forefathers knew about the the medicinal and therapeutic properties of hundreds of foods. Medicinal plants have been found useful dates back to antiquity. In India, the traditional knowledge and beliefs incorporating plants and mineral based medicines with ritual inbound seasonal intake referred to health practices, maintains well being, is undoubtedly a reliable alternative approach to health care delivery among the people because it is cheap, easily accessible and efficacious.
Vernacular name of Basella alba rubra
English: Ceylon spinach, Malabar spinach, Indian spinach, Red vine spinach, Vine spinach
" কোন দেশেতে তরুলতা সকল দেশের চাইতে শ্যামল !
কোন দেশেতে চলতে গেলে দলতে হয় রে দুর্বা কমল ; "
- Pui has been used for many of its useful product from ancient times in the cure of certain problems. It has a positive effect on total-body and stores vitamin A in men.
- The paste of root of Basella alba along with rice washed water is taken in the morning in empty stomach for one month to cure irregular periods by the rural people of Orissa, India.
- Leaves of pui are used for the treatment of hypertension by Nigerians in Lagos, and malaria in Cameroonian folk medicine.
- The phytochemical contents of the leafy vegetables serve as supplements for food and also have the potential to improve the health status of its users as a result of the presence of various compounds vital for good health.
- The leaves of Basella alba are traditionally used in Ayurveda system of medicine to bring refreshing sound sleep when it is applied on head about half an hour before bathing and also used for headache.
- Decoction of leaves used for its mild laxative effects. Leaf-juice mixed with butter, is soothing and cooling when applied to burns and scalds. Its pH is good for skin (5.3-5.4). It has been used in Bangladesh for acne and freckle treatment. The Ayurvedic treatment in India has been using B. alba leaves and stems for anticancer such as melanoma, leukemia and oral cancer.
- The plant is febrifuge. Its juice is a safe aperient for pregnant women and a decoction has been used to alleviate labour. It is also an astringent and the cooked roots are used in the treatment of diarrhoea. This plant serves as a Thai traditional vegetable.
- Basella fruit contains gomphrenin derivative which is betalain pigment. The fruit provides dark violet color for food colorant in India.
- Their fiber content provides bulk in the diet and this helps to reduce the intake of starchy foods, enhances gastrointestinal function, prevents constipation and may thus reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases like maturity onset, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia. They are also potent antibiotics, antihypertensives and blood building agents and improve fertility in females when eaten in soups. It is very popular in stir fries and soups in Chinese or Vietnamese food.