Reub's journey

19 September 2010

Fenugreek, tamarind, and mystery greens

I bought this but I don't know what it is. Do you?

This was the week of exotic ingredients. While John was gone I entertained myself by cooking. I made split pea fritters (Indian) one day and Pad Thai another. Happily this required a visit to both the local Indian food mart and one of two local Asian food markets. I was searching for fenugreek powder for the fritters, and tamarind paste for the Pad Thai: I had never used either of these before.

Why could I not immediately find fenugreek at the Indian food store? Because they call it "methi powder" that's why. What an unfortunate name. Meth is one of the most destructive and addictive drugs to ever hit the illicit drug market, and it is a big problem here. So I wrote "FENUGREEK" all over the Methi Powder bag when I got it home to make it sound better.

These greens were close to 3 feet long from top to bottom.

There was a woman unloading a large crate of greens at the Asian food market, and they were so fresh and beautiful that I bought a bunch without knowing what they were. I asked if they were for stir fry, and through gestures and nods it looked like that was correct and that I should chop the tops but not the whole stem.

The stems were hollow and reminded me of aquatic plants that I have seen growing in ponds. I discarded most of the stems and added the chopped leaves to the Pad Thai and also put some into chicken noodle soup to give it color. The taste was mild, like spinach, and the color was bright green when cooked. Any ideas as to what this was? I would like to be able to ask for it by name next time.


  1. Methi Powder!? I thought the same thing about the drug!

    That is soooo funny you know all about Talk Like A Pirate Day. I never heard of it before. But I know Facebook has a pirate option for language choices which is pretty cool.

  2. I wish I could help but I'm really not sure what those greens are! That is a strange name for fenugreek!

  3. You are ambitious! Thanks for the visit.

  4. I've not heard of those greens -but, when I first looked, I thought your fingers were part of them and I was going "Wow those sure are weird growths in those greens!" *doh!* laughing.....

    the food sounds wonderful...

  5. Golly, you are an adventurous cook.
    Where I live these ingredients cannot be found, the back of beyond doesn't cater for exotic tastes.

  6. ok, i'm feeling pretty smug here with my inter-connected webnosity, but could those greens perhaps be kang kong, or water spinach? check them out:

    (i did a search for asian greens, and apparently there are many mystified non-asians out there, lucky for us!!)

    wish i could have been a taste tester for you!!!

  7. Water spinach. That's the perfect name for what this seemed to be, and "kang-kong"--now that's a name I just might be able to remember! I looked at the pictures on your link, Debbie, and yes this could well be just the thing!


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