Roadside vendors around me are selling mounds of lush green bathua leaves…yes, winter has truly arrived. Bathua is in season for only a short while each year, and when it is, it is abundant and inexpensive. Make the most of it while it lasts – and if this wonder vegetable is new to you, start off your acquaintance by making this popular north Indian side dish bathua ka raita.
Bathua is like a tougher, trickier cousin of spinach. One wouldn’t eat bathua raw as one would spinach in salad, but tame it with boiling and blend it with dahi – it then works beautifully as bathua ka raita.
- Bathua leaves – 250 grams
- Green chilies – 1 (more if you want it hotter)
- Plain yogurt – 3 cups
- Salt – 1/4 teaspoon + more to taste
- Kala namak (Himalayan black salt) –1/4 teaspoon or to taste
- Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
How To Make Batha Ka Raita:
1. Boil the bathua
Pluck and discard the tough stems from the Bathua leaves.
Wash the leaves well. Chop roughly.
Bring a cup of water to a boil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water. When the water starts bubbling, add chopped bathua leaves to the water.
Boil the bathua leaves for 7-8 minutes on low heat.
Let the boiled bathua leaves cool to room temperature. Drain away excess water.
2. Grind and whip
Place the boiled bathua leaves in a grinder along with green chilies.
Prepare Roasted Cumin Powder if not handy already.
Take 3 cups of plain yogurt and whip to make it smooth.
3. Put the raita together
Mix into the whipped yogurt the boiled bathua leaves-green chili paste, roasted cumin powder, kala namak and salt (be mindful of the quantity – remember the bathua has been salted already).
Bathua ka Raita is ready. Let it stand for an hour before serving. If planning to serve later, refrigerate. Raita is typically served cool.
Meal below: chapatis with potato carrot curry and bathua ka raita.
I normally put an English translation of the Hindi recipe name in the title, but made an exception this time. "Chenopodium album yogurt dip" is alarmingly suggestive of a Marxist revolutionary who, for the lack of a stage or audio recordings, jumps into a pool of yogurt. No thanks – bathua ka raita will have to do on its own as name, regardless of language.
Online sources say pregnant women should avoid eating bathua – do check with your nutritionist/doctor about it.
Try other vegetable-based raita recipes: lauki raita, drumstick raita, spinach raita.
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