You’ve probably seen this “weed” growing in your garden. It has a pretty red stem, yellow flowers, and succulent- leaves. Its botanical name is Portulaca oleracea, but in Kannada, our native language, it is called Goni Soppu. This plant is so easy to grow (and can become invasive at times, which is why some consider it a weed), and has numerous health benefits. It contains the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids found in plants, and also contains very high amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as two betalain alkaloid pigments which are antioxidants. This plant is very commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as blood pressure. The leaves can be made into a poultice as a topical treatment for insect bites and sores. We love using food as medicine!
Purslane is high in oxalates, so eat with caution if you are prone to kidney stones, gout, or have kidney disease.
(Resources available if desired)
We like making a simple side dish with this, and the recipe is below. However, the leaves have a great peppery flavor, and are delicious raw or lightly sautéed and added to a salad.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 cups of purslane chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 Hungarian or Banana peppers (a mild pepper works best), thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup grated coconut or coconut flakes
Add mustard seeds once oil is hot. The seeds should pop and splutter
Then add the peppers and saute for a minute
Add purslane and saute for another minute
Add salt, lemon juice, and coconut
Saute until leaves and stem are soft
Enjoy by itself, with a whole grain, on toasted bread, or with chapati