Friday, September 9, 2011
Purslane, the Underappreciated Weed
There will be no recipe with this post as I am in the midst of moving madness (to Chongqing, China) and can barely put two pieces of bread together with something in between let alone concoct a proper meal. This says a lot as I am decidedly not a sandwich girl to begin with.
Nonetheless, I managed to hit up the farmers market one last time over the weekend and to my joy I came across some fresh and wild purslane that one of the purveyors was selling. I had never tried fresh purslane, but I have studied it's medicinal uses in Chinese Medicine as it is part of the Materia Medica, known as Ma Chi Xian. As it turns out it is also a culinary delight in many places around the world (Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Mexico). In the U.S. it is considered a weed and some refer to it as pigweed or little hogweed, I am not sure if this is because pigs like it or for some other pig-related reason, but it is certainly an underappreciated edible weed here! You can chop it up fresh, saute it lightly, or use it in soups. I must admit, I have not had the opportunity to do anything but rip off a few of it's generous arms, rinse, and nosh on them in front of the computer or as I run off to take care of one last moving logistic, therefore I can't share a recipe as of yet. I can say that it is delicious, and that I enjoyed it very much in it's raw and simple form, it is indeed sour and a bit sweet. Mainly it starts sweet and ends sour. In the future I am going to toss it in a salad with some feta like the Greeks do (one of the recipes I managed to peruse online).
In TCM you use Ma Chi Xian to treat dysentery, hot or bloody genitourinary conditions, and topically for wasp or snake bites. See Kamwo Pharmacy's reference guide for more on this if you'd like.
And with this, I leave you, to run to do. One. Last! Thing! See you in China.