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Churang leaves are the young leaves harvested from a tropical plant known as Lasia spinosa. The leaves grow in a rosette pattern from a base stem. Churang leaves are bright green in color and are covered in small spikes which are soft when young and sharper once leaves have matured. The plant blooms with long, twisted dark red to purple flowers. The flavor of the leaves is sweet and slightly astringent.
Churang leaves can be harvested year-round.
Churang leaves grow on the herbaceous perennial botanically known as Lasia spinosa, and are also known as Lasia in English, Phak Naam in Thailand, Kohila in Shri Lanka and Turang as well as Churang in India. In English they are sometimes referred to as Unicorn plant, a nod to the plants long pointy flowers. A member of the Araceae or Yam family, Churang leaves are most commonly used for medicinal purposes in India, Thailand and South-east Asia.
Churang leaves contain hydrocyanic acid and must be cooked or fermented prior to consumption in order to neutralize the acid. Leaves can be boiled, fried, steamed and pickled. Add leaves to stir fries, curries or hot and sour soup. In Thailand prepared leaves are often served with a fermented spicy fish sauce known as ‘nam phrik plaa raa’.
Churang leaves and many other parts of the Lasia spinosa plant have long been utilized for medicinal purposes. In India leaves are used to treat stomachaches and the Naga tribes have been known to use them to treat intestinal worm infections. The leaves also act as an expectorant and are used to treat coughs and asthma in both India and South-east Asia. In Shri Lanka they were a valuable leaf in Ancient Sinhalese medicine and commonly used in treatment of digestive problems.
The Lasia spinosa plant is believed to have originated in India. It has since spread to Thailand, China, New Guinea, Shri Lanka and other parts of South-east Asia. Highly tolerant of being waterlogged it is frequently found growing in marsh like areas such as swamps and riverbanks and will flourish in full sun to semi shade. The leaves are typically foraged for in their natural habitat though they are occasionally grown in gardens for home consumption as well.
Recipes that include Churang Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
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|My Poems, Recipes, English & Sinhala Lyrics, Quotes||Kohila Dalu / Tender Leaves of Lasia Spinosa Curry|