|Drying Gossefoot leaves|
Today as I spread some goosefoot weed on a dining table to dry, the thought occurred that it would be a good idea to share a recipe called Mother’s Bounty Bread with readers. The name was made up for this post seeing that in an earlier post we described the Mother’s Bounty Chutney made from coconuts and almonds which is an excellent accompaniment for this bread.
The White Goosefoot weed (called Bathua in Hindi or Chenopodium album technically) grows wild in many parts of the world. In Asia and India in particular it creeps into wheat fields and is removed continuously by small farmers for a healthy dish or even as cattle feed since it is so profuse and so healthy for man and animal. It is available for free in the countryside. However, it comes up only for a few months a year. Therefore, it is a great idea to dry some for the rest of the year. To do that on a small scale just spread it out on newspaper sheets or a clean cloth sheet on a dining table or any other space available to you in shade. In a few days it will dry out. It can then be collected and stored in a jar. There are several types of this weed that grow around the world including a fleshy one in California that may be be equally healthy but my experience is limited to the White Goosefoot variety. However just like spinach this green is high on oxalic and should not be eaten by itself in copious amounts especially not by persons with a tendency for kidney stones.
To prepare the mother’s bounty bread mix in about five to ten percent by volume of crushed dried goosefoot leaves and another 15 percent by volume of black gram flour (called Besan and available in East Indian stores) and then go ahead and prepare your bread just the way you would prepare an ordinary bread. My favorite is unleavened pan fried flat bread with this.Besan may be replaced with dried pea flour but if neither is available use a little milk or butter milk to moisten the flour before preparing the bread. Each ingredient would produce its own unique flavor.
The Mother's Bounty Bread can be prepared by using Spinach or Drumstick leaves instead of Goosefoot. If the leaves are not available in dry form but fresh then steam them for a few minutes and run through a blender before mixing with the bread mix. If you are worried about oxalic acid in these healthy leaves, add a little excess water before steaming and drain away the water.
If you wish to spice up the bread it can be seasoned with cumin seeds, crushed garlic, chopped onions and cilantro but do add a little salt for taste either way.
The best accompaniments for this bread with a meal are as mentioned, the Mother’s Bounty Chutney or if that is not around yoghurt used as a dip and a green salad. A dip made of half and half sour cream and butter milk is delicious too. It makes a complete and nutritious meal that can be had frequently to sustain a healthy and natural meat free life style.