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The Ponnanganni plant has long, fibrous stems that produce pairs of thin, pointed leaves. The leaves are a bright green in color. To prepare many dishes the Ponnanganni leaves should be removed from the stems, although the stems can be reserved to be used in cooking soup stocks at a later time. The best leaves for culinary use are the tender young shoots and leaves. The taste of the Ponnanganni leaf is akin to what the purest spinach would taste like - nutty and flavorful. The leaves are a marginally crisper than spinach, and do have a little bite to them, even when cooked.
Ponnanganni leaves are available year-round, most readily accessible in Asia.
Ponnanganni keerai is a Tamil name of a spinach variety, it is also known as Dwarf Copperleaf spinach or Sessile Joyweed. Ponnanganni keerai is botanically classified as Alternanthera sessilis. The plant - bearing many leaves which are long and flat - is aquatic, but can grow in both wet and dry environments.
Ponnanganni kerrai is high in calcium, dietary fiber, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C.
In Indian cuisine, you'll find Ponnanganni keerai being turned into dals, soups and chutneys. Sri Lankan cooks may use this as a daily vegetable in simple stir fries or salads.
Ponnanganni keerai has so many medicinal uses in India that it is known as the "golden tree", and is valued as such. Eating Ponnangani keerai is said to be good for the eyes, and to give the skin a golden glow. It is widely used in the Indian Ayurvedic system to treat various maladies, from fevers, diarrhoea and stubborn skin disorders. The effects of consuming the plant are said to soothe indigestion, and help cool the body in hot summer months. In Nigeria, sniffing Ponnanganni keerai sap is said to help nerve pain. In various parts of Africa, it is used to treat snake bites.
Ponnanganni keerai is native to many parts of Asia, commonly found in India and Sri Lanka. It was introduced to the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the south-eastern United States. Although the plant is valued in Asia, it grows so quickly that it has been classified as invasive in some areas, such as in Canada.
Recipes that include Ponnaganni Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Saffron Trail||Beet, Feta and Water Amaranth Salad|
|Talimpu||Water Amaranth with Moon Dal|