Of the 106 species of leafy vegetables consumed in southern Odisha, 78 are wild species—each with a distinct taste and medicinal property SNIGDHA DAS
AS WINTER sets in, the fragrance of leafy greens fills the kitchens across Odisha. This is the time when nature is bounteous, and a variety of potherbs can be found growing in kitchen gardens, roadsides, grazing fields, undergrowths in forests, along water bodies… almost everywhere. The leaves are no longer spoiled by moisture or infested with germs and worms. And saaga bhajaa (cooked green leaves) becomes a regular feature on the menu of Odias.
People in Odisha typically relish a wide variety of potherbs, both domesticated and wild. While they have a cultural significance—saaga bhajaa is an integral part of the platter offered to deities during festivals—they play an important role in the food and nutritional security of those living in rural and tribal areas.
The Ambiliti saaga has a sour taste and can help relieve scurvy and skin disorders