Green but far from mean!

by on in Food, Know your food

“I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach.”
― Popeye the Sailor Man

I am sure a lot of you have heard from your parents or told your kids to – “Eat your greens”. But, if you walk into a supermarket today or even look at the greens category on our website, you will surely be stumped by the sheer variety of leafy greens out there. So here are a few good old greens – their uses and benefits.


It is a superfood. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. It contains rich minerals, vitamins, pigments, and phytonutrients. Dark, leafy greens like Palak are important for skin, hair, and bone health.
  • Dals
  • Curries
  • Parathas
  • Also in smoothies! To make your mean green smoothie.


Also known as Fenugreek. It is the fruit of a herbaceous annual plant that is indigenous to South-Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent. Both the foliage and seeds are edible and are especially integral to Indian cuisine, found in curries and chutney. even if Indian food isn’t your thing, fenugreek may already, or sometime in the future, be working its herbal magic on whatever ails you.
  • Leaves are dried and used as Kasuri Methi
  • Seeds are used in whole and in powder form
  • Appetite control. So far, 3 studies show a reduction in fat intake and appetite. One 14-day study found that participants spontaneously reduced total fat intake by 17%
  • Cholesterol levels. Some evidence indicates that fenugreek can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • One 2-week pilot study in people with frequent heartburn found that fenugreek reduced their symptoms. In fact, its effects matched those of antacid medications.
  • Inflammation. This herb has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in rats and mice. More research is needed to confirm this in humans.

Amaranthus (Red/Green)

It is the less favorite relative of spinach. But Amaranth leaves are much superior to most greens because they are a powerhouse of nutrients. For example, amaranth leaves have three times more calcium and Niacin than spinach leaves and seven times more calcium and iron than lettuce. Amaranth leaves come as green, red and a mixed variety. More commonly cooked in South India.
  • Dal
  • Curry
  • Stir fry
  • Rich in Calcium and Iron.
  • Phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • High in fiber


It is another variety of Amaranthus but much. More tender. It is mainly eaten in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These greens are not given with the roots.
Tamil: Arakkeerai
Telugu: Thotakura/ Koyagura
Hindi: Chauli/ Chavleri Sag
Kannada: Harvey Soppu / Arave Soppu
Malayalam: Cheera
Uses :
  • Curries ( Huli, Kootu)


Anethum graveolens is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae.  Leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavouring food.
Bengali : Sholpa
Marati: Shepu
Hindi: Savaa
Telegu: Soa-kura
Kannada: Sabbasige Soppu
Tamil: Sada Kuppi
Uses: Dal, Vada’s , Paratha  and also in dips and salads.
Benefits : Dill herb has all the characters to consider it has one of the most valued functional foods. 100 g of dill weed provides only 43 calories, but its phytonutrients profile is no less than any other high-calorie food source; be it nuts, pulses, cereals, or meat group.

Gongura/Sorrel leaves

Come monsoon, and most green leafy vegetables are relegated to the back burner for a couple of months. Concerns about contamination soar high. But the only variety of leafy vegetable which is consumed without any inhibition during the monsoons is probably sorrel leaves.
Other names:
Telegu : Gongura
Marathi : Ambadi
Tamil : Pulichakeerai
Assameese : Tenga mora
Hindi : Pitwaa
Oriya : Khata palanga
Bengali : Mesntapat
This basically goes to show that sorrel leaves are consumed widely in India.
The high content of vitamin C, popularly known as ascorbic acid, plays a major role in boosting the immune system and in increasing the number of white blood cells in the body. This is also one of the reasons Gongura is widely consumed even during the monsoons. Also, since it grows a little higher than ground level, risk of contamination is comparatively low.

Drumstick/Moringa leaves

Every part of the plant is edible — leaves, pods, seeds, flowers, even its root. Drumstick leaves have recently even achieved international acclaim for the multitude of health benefits.
Benefits :
  • The leaves are high in vitamins A and C, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium.
  • They contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that have been shown in some research studies to reduce chronic inflammation.
Uses: More commonly, the leaves are dried and ground into a powder that’s added to soups, curries and stews


Medicinal herb having soft and thick leaves. It has an oregano-like flavour and odour.
Kanada : Doddapatre
Hindi : Ajwain/ Patharchur
Malayalam: Panikoorka
Tamil : Karpuravalli
Telegu : Vamu aaku
The leaves have many traditional medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, infections, rheumatism, fever, chronic asthma, hiccup, bronchitis, convulsions, epilepsy, skin ulcerations, insect bite, skin allergy, wounds and diarrhea.
Uses : Made into chutney and bajjis.

Agathi Cheera

Agathai Keerai has a whole lot of medicinal values. It might taste a little bitter but it is very much useful for the health. The leaves, flowers, roots and outer cover are widely used for medicinal purposes.
English – Vegetable Humming Bird Tree Leaves
Telugu: Agise
Hindi: Agasti
Kannada : Agastya
Uses: Soups & curries

Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach (Basella alba or ruba, a redder variety) is actually not spinach at all. It’s not even related! Well, OK, it’s distantly related, but when it’s raw Malabar spinach has very fleshy, thick leaves that are juicy and crisp with tastes of citrus and pepper. When cooked, though, Malabar spinach does look and taste a lot more like regular spinach. It doesn’t wilt as fast, though, and it holds up better in soups and stir-fries.


India is endowed with innumerable medicinal plants. Among these, ‘Amruthaballi’ tops the list being the most used premier medicinal herb. It is a miraculous ancient herb with amazing medicinal values and health benefits. The name ‘Amrita,’ which literally translates to ‘the root of immortality’ or ‘nectar’ lends its name to the plant. The leaves have many traditional medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, infections, rheumatism, fever, chronic asthma, hiccup, bronchitis, convulsions, epilepsy, skin ulcerations, insect bite, skin allergy, wounds, and diarrhea.
Uses: Primarily made into kashayam (Medicinal Concoction)

Chakotha/Mountain Spinach

Chakotha greens themselves have a slightly sour nutty taste. Chakothne or Chakotha soppu is one of the numerous varieties of greens found in Karnataka, which in English is called Mountain spinach.
Uses : Curries & Gravies.
Benefits: Rich in anti-oxidants and high in fibre.

Chukkakura/Khata Palak

This beautiful vegetable could almost pass off as spinach. However, on more detailed inspection, you will find the leaves to be triangular-shaped and a little fleshier than spinach. Take a little bite of a leaf and it will reveal its true identity. The tart, lemony flavour of khatta palak makes this stand out from its similar-looking cousins Chukkakura in Telugu, Chukkankeerai in Tamil.
Uses: Dal and pachadi(like a curry)

Kashi Soppu

The botanical name is Solanum nigrum and the English name is ‘Black night shade’, Sun berry or ‘wonder berry’. The tamil name is Manathakkali keerai, Kashi soppu and Makoi in Hindi. Ganike Soppu has lovely green leaves and produces tangy little blue or red berries. The leaves are also used as herbs in medicine.
Health Benefits: Ganike Soppu, is a medicinal plant which is not familiar to many people. Leaves of this plant are used as a good remedy for cold, cough, mouth ulcer and stomach related problems. Kids love to eat the small, black colored fruits of this plant.
  • Curries (Palya, Kootu)
  • Stir fry

Disclaimer: All the information above have been got from extensive googling and conversation with our farmers. If you find any contradictions please let us know and we will correct it. We are learning along with you. Writing this post was very informative and interesting for us, we hope you found it useful as well. Go Green!