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Mar 28, 2011 12:51 AM

Name My Green!

I have a mystery green! I need help! I don't know what I bought!

Today at a nearby farmer's market, I bought the vegetable in the attached picture. I believe that is Chinese (or at least Asian of some kind) because the rest of the vegetables at the stand were bok choy, Chinese mustard, daikon, and bitter melon. I mainly bought it because I didn't know what it was (and it was cheap).
I asked the guy at the stand what it was; however, I couldn't hear him too well, and he was very busy. I was able to make out that it started with an 'M' (it may have an 'A' and 'T' in there as well, but I am unsure). I figured that knowing that I have a Chinese vegetable that started with an 'M' would be enough information to easily figure out what I bought using the internet... I was so wrong!

I have searched and searched, but I can't find any greens (Asian or otherwise) that look like what I bought! It does look a bit like watercress (and tastes a bit like it too); however, I don't think that it is watercress (unless it is a strange variety).

Anyone have any idea what this is? It is already looking sadder that it did this morning, so I need to figure out what to do with it soon. Btw, I bought it at the farmer's market in Mountain View, CA (in case this helps with identification).

Thanks in advance.

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    1. I'm not entirely sure, but that might be mache, which is also known as lambs' lettuce. (also fits the profile of cheap, small, and looks a little like cress)

      If that's what it is, it's a welcome addition to salads at our house, because it's one of the few green things you can harvest in the winter in colder climates, and I think I read that it's very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, too.

      I usually end up tossing it with other winter salad thins --- sliced endive, sliced fennel, mushrooms, and a vinaigrette.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sunshine842

        I've grown mache in my garden and it didn't look like the photo. The leaves were larger and more green with no yellow. The "greens" in the photo look more like an herb to me. Mache Is a delicious salad green.

      2. not quite sure from the picture, but it does look like methi (fenugreek) leaf....i'm about 95% sure that it is not a Chinese herb/leaf, unless it is a medicinal herb that I don't recognize fresh...

        5 Replies
        1. re: qianning

          Yup, it's methi for sure. If you are familiar with Indian cooking, you could make aloo-methi, a dry curried side to go with rice or bread. Or make some crepes- "methi keep cheelay". Or just pan saute with garlic and chili flakes.

          1. re: sweetTooth

            I love methi leaf in Indian crepes, yummy. Funny 'cause I don't like fenugreek seed very much at all.

            1. re: qianning

              Yes! It is methi! Thanks sweettooth and qianning!
              I guess the stand is not just Chinese vegetables...

              Anyone have any good recipes? The crepes sound good, but most of recipes I see online involve potatoes. I love Indian food and curries, but not potato curries (not much love for potatoes).

              1. re: lrealml

                I love fresh methi -- I often buy it fresh (or even frozen). It's supposed to be good for you health wise too.

                i'm only familiar with indian preparations, but I know they use it in middle eastern cooking as well. Indian wise, you can make aloo methi (potatoes with fenugreek leaves) but I know you said you're not fond of potatoes. You can make methi murgh, which is chicken cooked with fenugreek leaves. One of our favorites is making methi parathas, which is flatbread with the chopped methi leaves. You mix whole wheat flour with water to make a somewhat stiff dough, add a glug of oil, chopped methi, salt, and fresh chopped green chili. Roll into 6-7" pancakes, and cook on a griddle with a little bit of oil on each side. Serve with plain yogurt and indian pickles. One of our favorites for a rainy day brunch.

                1. re: lrealml

                  Did you search for "Murgh Methi" (i.e. "chicken with Methi") A quick look at a couple of my cookbooks, and both "Indian Home Cooking" and "A Taste of India" had recipes for this, and no potato in either recipe. I'm still looking for the crepe recipe, if I can find I'll let you know where.

          2. I Googled mache images and ya know... Your bunch of greens just might be...take a look:


            1. Isn't it purslane? Does it have thickish stems? Does it taste lemony? Mache has shorter stems than that seems to and tastes sort of nutty.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  I had better recuse myself in future from these ID questions because I'm red-green color blind and hadn't realized that...