Thanks to Ritesh Khunyakari for consultations
We have collected some wild leafy vegetables available in and around Mumbai, mainly during the rains. This is an ongoing project – we welcome your feedback, questions, suggestions and contributions to this collection. In particular, we are looking for Latin names, other vernacular names and most of all . . recipes! *
Specimens of these plants have been included in a herbarium maintained in our lab.
* You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum)
- Sanskrit – Bharangi
- Bengali – Bhamunhati
- Hindi – Bharangi
- Tamil – Narivalai
The leaves are used as a vegetable. The root of this plant is used in Ayurveda for treating
Ingredients – Bharangi leaves, onion, garlic, dry red chillies, lemon (optional).
Preparation – Boil leaves, drain. Heat oil in a pan, add onion, garlic and pieces of dry red chili.
Stir fry until lightly browned. Add Bharangi leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste, Serve
with a dash of lemon (optional).
Recipe from Mangala Karnick
2. Safed Musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum)
- Phodshi, Mulshi
Family : Liliaceae
It is commonly found in patches of forest areas all over India. The vendors say it grows on hillsides. It flowers in the month of August and September.
It can be cooked similar to Bharangi. Coarsely, ground raw soaked chana dal can be added; onions are optional.
3. Chiu (Portulaca oleracea)
- Bengali – Bara loniya
- Gujrati – Moti
- Hindi – Kulfa
- Marathi – Ghol
- Oriya – Puruni sag
- Tamil – Paruppu keerai
- Telgu – Pappu koora, Payal koora
- Kannada – Doddagooni soppu
- Malayalam – Karie cheera, ponnankani cheera
Family: Portulacaceae(Moss rose)
Ingredients – Chiu, garlic, red chillies, curry leaves, onion, turmeric powder salt.
Preparation – Wash, drain and chop chiu into small pieces. Heat oil, add garlic, red chillies and curry leaves. When garlic turns slightly brown, add finely chopped onion, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, salt. Add leaves, cook on a low flame.
Ayurvedic physicians recommend the juice of these leaves for some urinary tract disorders.
Recipe by Sheela Padmanabhan.
4. Maath (Amaranthus spinosus)
Sanskrit – Alpa-marisha
Bengali – Kantamaris
Gujarati – Kantanudant
Telgu – Pacha koora
Marathi – Katailchaulai, Jangli chaulai
Malayalam – Kuppacheera or pacha cheera
In some parts of Maharashtra it is regularly consumed as a favourite dish, in
which the leaves are steamed and mashed with a light seasoning of salt and red chillies.
Ingredients – Maath, coconut oil/any oil, garlic, green chillies, salt. Optional – egg, grated coconut, pepper powder.
Preparation – Wash, drain and finely chop leaves and tender stems. Heat oil (preferably coconut oil),
saute garlic and green chillies; add vegetable; salt according to taste.
Sprinkle water, cover and cook on a low flame. When the leaf is done add a tablespoon
of grated coconut. If desired an egg may be added at this stage and scrambled.
Add black pepper according to taste.
Recipe by Sheela Padmanabhan
5. Kurdu (Celosia argentea)
- Silver Cockscomb, Flamingo Feathers
It grows abundantly wild in monsoons. Its use as a vegetable is common in some parts of Maharashtra. Ayurvedic physicians recommend the seeds of this plant for treating kidney stones.
Ingredients – Coarsely chopped/crushed groundnuts and kurdu leaves and tender stems, finely chopped crushed garlic and green chillies.
Preparation – Heat oil, add the chopped ingredients and when they are cooked (i.e they no longer smell raw) add green chillies, turmeric, salt. Cook till tender.
In-case, the leaves are old and tough, boil and drain them first and then proceed.
Photo credit : M.B.Krishna. Kanakpura road, Bangalore.
6. Taakla (Cassia tora/ Senna tora)
- Sanskrit – Chakramarda, Taga
- Bengali & Oriya – Chakunda
- Gujrati – Kawaria
- Marathi – Takala
- Tamil – Tagarai
- Telugu – Chinnakasinda
- Malyalam – Chakramandrakam,takara
It is an annual herb, with a height of 30 to 90cm. It grows in warm moist soil throughout the tropical parts of India.
Ingredients – Takla leaves, cumin, raw coconut, green chillies
Preparation – Wash, pluck leaves and tender shoots. Stir fry in a little oil till cooked. Let cool. Dry roast cumin lightly. Grind together the cumin, taakla, fresh grated coconut and green chillies. Lemon/yougurt may be added if desired.
7. Alu che Paan (Calocasia antiquorum)
- Arvi, Ghuiyan, KachaluFamily: AraceaeIt is a herb, that grows throughout the country. In Maharashtra, the leaves are called Alu che paan.
Ingredients – Alu che paan, gram flour, tamarind, red chili powder, turmeric,corriander, assafoetida and salt.
Preparation – To make alu wadi first de-vein the leaves, prepare a paste of gram flour by adding tamarind, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander, assafoetida and salt to it, spread the paste of gram flour on the leaves, roll the leaves into logs and steam, then cut it into slices crosswise and shallow fry. It makes a nice snack. This recipe is popular in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
step by step preparation of this recipe can be viewed at
8. Bapta (Botanical name- __ )
Family: – ?????
It is a small herb with a strong aroma
Boil and drain leaves, then stir fry with spices as in any of the recipes above
9. Korata (Wrightia tinctoria)
English – Pala indigo,
- Hindi – Kala kuda, karayja, Kapar
- Marathi – Korata, Bhoorevadi
- Sanskrit – Asita kutaj
- Gujarati – Dudhalo
- Kannada – Ajamara
- Tamil – Irum-palal
It is a deciduous tree. The fruit is pendulous, long paired follicles joined at their tips. In some parts of Maharashtra follicles are used as a Vegetable.
10. Shevla, Kakad & Bondyachi bhaji
Common name: Dragon StalkYam
- Malayalam – kattu-cena
- Marathi – mogari kanda, shevla
- Hindi – Jangli suran
Family – Araceae (Arum family)
10 b. Kakad (Garuga pinnata)
Kakad (Garuga pinnata)
Hindi – kharpat
Marathi – kakad
Tamil – arunelli, karuvempu
Malayalam – annakaara, kaattunelli
Telugu – garuga, konda vepa
Kannada – aranelli, biligadde,kaashthanelli
Bengali – jum, kapila
Oriya – kekadogatcho
Konkani – kudak
Assamese – pama Gujarati – kaked, khusimb
Sanskrit – karnikarha, kinikirath
Family – Burseraceae
Kakad fruits are contemporaneous with flowering of Amorphophallus commutatus (Shevla). Both are available in Mumbai markets as early monsoon vegetables. Kakad fruits are added to young spathes of Shevla to counter the itching, typical of Arum family.
Approximately 20-25 fruits (a generous handful) are needed for about 3 bunches of shevla. If available, leaves of ‘bhondayachi bhaji’ can be added to the mix.
Ingredients – Kakad, Shevla, green chillies, onion, salt, garam masala, haldi and finely grated coconut.
Preparation – Discard stalk, tough outer leaves, and the lower yellow part of the inflorescence. Slice thin. Smash each kakad fruit, pick out and discard the seed. Chop fine. Boil chopped fruits and shevla together, discard water. Test – eat a small piece to check if itching occurs. If so, boil with more fruit/tamarind, discard water. Stir fry green chillies and onions till onions are golden brown, add the boiled vegetables, some tamarind if desired, salt and turmeric. Add garam masal/Malvani masala, salt to taste and finally fresh grated coconut. The texture of Shevla adds to its appeal.
One more Recipe
2. Ingredients – Shevla, Kakad, mustard, jeera, hing, curry leaves and grated fresh coconut.
Preparation – Heat oil, add red chillies, mustard and jeera, hing, curry leaves. Add prepared shevla, stir fry, add salt and finally grated fresh coconut. This vegetable is reminiscent of plantain flower texturally.
11. Korla (Bauhinia malabarica)
- Bengali – Karmai
- Hindi – Amli
- Marathi – Korla
- Telgu – Pulishinta
- Malayalam – aarampuli
- Sanskrit – amlapatrah
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Ingredients – Moong dal, Korla leaves, mustard, cumin, green or red chillies, turmeric powder, hing/garlic.
Preparation – Cooked with soaked moong dal.
Use only leaves; remove tough veins, mainly the central ones from mature leaves. Wash, chop the leaves. Heat oil, add a small amount of mustard and cumin, then hing (or garlic, whichever is preferred), green/red chillies. Add the soaked dal (drain first) and then the leaves, turmeric and salt to taste. Cook till tender.
12. Kankoda (Momordica dioica)
- Bengali – Bankarela
- Hindi – Golkandra
- Kannada – Karlikai
- Malayalam – Erimaposal
- Marathi – Kartoli
- Tamil – Paluppakkai
- Telgu – Aakakara /Adavi Kakarkaya
Ingredients – Kartuli, onion, curry leaves, green chillies, mustard, salt, turmeric powder, dhania powder, fresh corriander leaves & freshly grated coconut.
Preparation – Slice each kartuli lenghtwise; 4-8 pieces depending on size. Heat oil, add mustard seeds; when they sputter add onions, curry leaves, green chillies and stir fry. Add kartuli, salt, turmeric, chilli powder ( ½ tablespoon per 150 gm). A few minutes later add some water cover and cook till tender. Add corriander and freshly grated coconut. It tastes like Karela without the bitterness.
13. Air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera)
- Sanskrit – Varahi
- Malyalam – kaachil
- Marathi – Dukkar kand
It is used as a home remedy to treat conjuctivitis, diarrhea, and dysentry. It is bitter in taste.
It can be prepared in the same way as sweet potatoes and potatoes.
To remove its bitterness and steroid content, it should be boiled before use.
14. Kavla (Smithia sensitiva)
- Hindi – Odabimi
- Marathi – Lajalu kavla
- Bengali – Nalakashina
Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Wash leaves and grind them. Boil the paste with tamarind juice to remove the stickiness of the paste. Add salt to taste. Heat oil for tempering, add cumin, garlic and mustard seeds to it. Fry them. Add to the boiled mix and serve it hot with rice.
Note: The gravy should not be too thick.
15. Ikra (Duranta erecta ‘Alba’)
- White sky flower,
- Golden dew drop,
- Pigeon berry
Family – Verbenaceae
Note – Its an introduced species
Its simply cooked as spinach.
Note – Recipes are welcome!
16. Discorea pentaphylla
- Hindi – Kanta alu, Kada kanda
- Sanskrit – Kantakalu
- Telugu – Dukka pendalam
- Malyalam – Katu-nuren-kelengu
- Tamil – Chedukundi, Kaattuvalli
- Oriya – Kontaalu
- Kannada – Kaadugumbala
Family – Dioscoreaceae
Wash buds, boil and drain them properly. Heat oil, add onions, grated coconut and spices of your choice to it. Stir fry them. Add drained buds to it. Tomatoes may be added if desired.
17. Hathikana (Tentative Identification: Leea macrophylla)
- Hindi – Hathikana
- Marathi – Gajakami, Dinda/dhendi
- Bengali – Dholsamudra
- Sanskrit – Samudrika, Jino
Family: Vitaceae (Grape Family)
Wash, peel and cut stems into 1” pieces. Chop leaves. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds to it. Add vegetables and tamarind or kokum juice, salt and turmeric according to your taste. Separately, roast onion (medium onions), fresh coconut (½ cup small pieces) and 1 or 2 Tilphad if available. Make a paste with water and add to the cooked vegetables. Add Malvani/garam masala if desired and heat through.
18. GHOLU (Portulaca oleracea)
- Hindi – Lunia
- Manipuri – Leibag kundu
- Tamil – Paruppu keerai
- Malyalam – Koluppa
- Kannada – Dudagorai
- Bengali – Sag
Family: Portulacaceae (moss ross family)
It is a large leaf variety of chiu and locally, it is used with its stems and leaves both.
Wash leaves and chop them fine. Heat oil, add whole garlic cloves (optional), roast them. Once they turn pink add mustard, fenugreek (methi seeds), dry red chillies, turmeric and asafoetida. Finally add leaves to it, cover and allow to cook till it changes its colour and get softened. For a bunch of gholu, take a cup of buttermilk, thoroughly mix 2 spoons of besan (chickpea flour) in it. Now slowly pour this over the cooked leaves. Stir it continously until the besan is cooked.
Recipe by Swati dandekar
We thank all the people who contributed directly or indirectly to this compilation. We would like to give special thanks to the wonderfully helpful vendors Devaki. Kamlibai and Parvati Thakre and Pinky. Many colleagues have helped in updating this site: Pooja Konde, Gunjali Sharma and Rajkumar Diwakar deserve special thanks. Manoj Nair helped in maintaining this site.
Sources for vernacular names – Nutritive value of Indian foods by C.Gopalan, B.V. Rama Sastri & S.C. Balasubramanian,2000.Revised and updated by B.S.Narasinga Rao , Y.G.Deosthale &K.C. Pant. National Institute of Nutrition. ICMR, Hyderabad.
Gharguti aushdhe by Krushnaji Narayan & Appashastri Sathe, 1998. Ayurved bhavan, kakadvadi, Mumbai.
Useful links : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTZ1FFF96nE