The thing that attracts us first when we look at a plant would possibly be the leaves. Only if the leaves are green and fresh would we even bother to look at the flowers of the plant. They are an inseparable part of our life and our diet. It is important that we include leaves in our diet as there are some nutrients you would get only if you include leaves in your daily diet.
Not all leaves are edible. Some are beneficial for our body, and some of them are poisonous. Leaves contain iron and some minerals and help in digestion. So, be sure to include some green veggies in your diet. Best if eaten raw as cooking them sometimes destroys or lessens a number of nutrients in it.
Below is a list of some of the dishes in Indian cuisine involving leaves that I find are the best. Let’s get started!
1 Palak Paneer
Ooh! This dish is the best when you consider dishes made from leaves. The main ingredients of this dish are Palak (Spinach leaves) and Paneer (Cottage Cheese). The taste of Palak shines so much in this dish that it makes me love it more every time. It is a very simple dish and is easy to prepare. But when you taste it you are to appreciate the complex taste of this dish. Have it with hot rotis to make your day.
2 Aloo Methi
The English translation of the name of this dish is ‘Potato and Fenugreek leaves’. Fenugreek leaves have a very distinct taste, and it comes out in this dish. I love the taste of the leaf in this dish. It doesn’t overpower the potatoes but still leaves behind it a distinct taste. However this dish can go wrong if you add too much of fenugreek leaves, as it starts to taste bitter after a point.
3 Pudina Pulav
Now, who doesn’t love Mint leaves? Its fresh taste and awesome smell leaves behind a clean taste in your mouth that is heavenly. Imagine that taste in the form of a pulav. Pulav is in itself tasty, adding mint leaves moves the dish up a notch. Cooking mint does remove some of its freshness, but in this dish, we can still taste the minty taste. That is the amount of mint that goes in this dish. It tastes somewhat like the South Indian Biryani.
4 Methi Paratha
Another fenugreek leaves dish. I am a fan of stuffed Parathas, and I like to add a variety of vegetables to my parathas. But nothing beats this paratha. The taste of the Methi shines so much that you will surely fall in love. Combine it with some fresh curd and pickle to increase the experience. It can be had for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. I would have it during the lunch as it is a tad bit heavy.
5 Sarson ka Saag
Sarson is Mustard in Hindi. This dish is so popular in Punjab that it is considered their signature dish. Made from mustard leaves and some spices, this dish will surely win your heart. It has been favored for its taste and the heat it provides when eaten during the winter season. It is usually paired with Makki di roti, which is a kind of bread made of maize flour. These two dishes have been made for each other. One doesn’t taste that good without the other.
6 Palak Paratha
As I already talked about stuffed parathas earlier, this one is also one that comes in my list of likable parathas. This paratha, it can either be stuffed or mixed with the flour. However I usually puree it and add it to the flour which makes the paratha green. It looks good and tastes luscious. It tastes even better with curd and pickle.
7 Amaranth Leaves Curry (Chaulai Dal)
Amaranth leaves are somewhat reddish green. They are usually mixed with lentils and have been made into a curry. But they taste good. They are a common recipe in the south Indian cuisine and these leaves have been found in abundance there. When we talk about leaves, this leaf does come in the list.
8 Palak Mushroom
This dish is an all time favorite of the vegetarians. Mushrooms have been liked by those who turned vegetarians, as it has the texture of meat. Combine your favorite leaf and Mushroom and viola you have your favorite. It is luscious considering the awkward combination.
9 Methi Pakora
Fritters are just too addictive, you simply cannot have one alone. And considering that all have started becoming health conscious and are taking the path of eating more healthy food, fritters with methi have been on a high. They are becoming increasingly liked among the health conscious. Though fritters are not that healthy, adding something healthy does increase its nutrients. Combine them with any chutney.
10 Green Chutney
Chutneys are famous throughout the world and my personal favorite is the Green Chutney. Made with Mint leaves, coriander and some lemon juice, it is good with everything including idlis and dosas. You can also add ‘tadka’ in the end to spice it up.
11 Corn and Spinach Pulav
Not a lot of leaves are eaten in India when compared to Western countries. Here is another pulav dish but with a bit of a twist and that is for those with the addition of corn. It adds sweetness and gives relief from the otherwise dense Palak taste in the dish. Sometimes the taste of leaves does overpower the dishes. So adding another element to the dish gives much-needed relief.
12 Palak Paneer Kathi Rolls
Kathi rolls are nothing but rotis rolled after stuffing some vegetables in the middle. I love them as they make an awesome and fulfilling snack and used to have them during my school days. I already awarded Palak Paneer first place but still don’t seem to overcome my likeness for them. In this, you can either stuff the Palak and Paneer separately or as a whole dish in the roti.
13 Aloo Palak Curry
The combination of potato and Palak may sound very awkward, but this combination is surprisingly scrumptious. Potato surprisingly sits well with all the leaves. This curry is a balance between the taste of spinach and the fat of potato. Potato gives it a balance and lifts the dish up.
14 Methi Pulav
Another Pulav dish! I know, but we Indians love dishes with rice and what is better than a Pulav. It is, after all, an inseparable part of Indian Cuisine. Methi Pulav is not that well known by many, but it is well liked among those who know about it. It does justice to the taste of the Fenugreek leaves used in this dish.
15 Palak Saag
This is another Saag dish. However in this Saag, Palak is used instead. Boiled leaves are made into a paste and later spice is added to make Saag. It is a simple dish with much complexity. It is particularly popular in the Northern Cuisine. But I nonetheless like it. I feel, it does the ingredients added to the dish justice by being so simple. As they say, Simple things are much more complex.
16 Methi Thepla
A Thepla is somewhat similar to a Paratha except the fact that spices are used in a Thepla. Methi Thepla is a famous Gujarati dish that is prepared by them on a regular basis. Among all the varieties of Thepla, Methi ka Thepla is the one that tastes best.
17 Tambdi Bhajji
This dish is from the Goan cuisine using Amaranth Leaves (Red Spinach leaves). This is a very simple dish. You can use various other ingredients to suit your palate. It depends upon your taste preference. Some even add tamarind paste or even Ginger-Garlic paste.
18 Methi Mushroom
There is not much to say about this dish as Mushroom is my favorite ingredient and Methi is my favorite leaf. I’ll just say that I love this combination and find it scrumptious.
19 Palak Corn Curry
The combination of Spinach and Corn is a classic one and has been used by chefs all over the world. Corn surprisingly sits well with leafy vegetables. This dish is popular only for the combination of Palak and corn.
20 Amaranth leaves with Coconut Milk
This dish is not that well known but is good enough to be considered in the list. As the name suggests, the leaves are cooked in coconut milk and then served. Any other leaf can also be substituted. Amaranth leaves are called red spinach as it resembles spinach in appearance except the color of course.