Superfoods are in. But more importantly, people are genuinely getting into healthier lifestyles. There is no time like the New Year to start! With so much going on in our lives, it’s a bit challenging to sit down and really think about where our food is coming from. And it’s always easy to eat some lettuce and feel good about our green intake. So we’re taking a look at some of the OG local leafy greens that are packed full of nutrients and are definitely worth adding to your meal plan.
Muranga Faiy (Moringa)
Back in the day, there was a time when people wouldn’t eat drumsticks or the leaves of Moringa trees because they were bitter and thought to be poisonous. But now, this is a sought after vegetable and the leaves are used in omelettes, curries, fried as our favourite condiment and even in powder form for breakfast smoothies. How times have changed for this plant that is rich in antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds.
Passion fruit Faiy
Yes. They are very much edible. Passion fruit grows abundantly in our islands and we’re very used to eating the fruit or making juice out of it. But the leaves are usually discarded or just left on the vine. Young and tender passion fruit leaves contain vitamin A and Niacin. Simply roll them up and slice it raw for a salad, blanch the leaves and slice it for some mashuni, or add to a quick vegetable stir fry.
Kulhafilaa Faiy (Beach Launaea)
Kulhafilaa, or Beach Launaea, is a common dietary plant among Maldivians. This is one of the few greens that people used to grow and eat back in the day without any questions. It’s usually made in a mashuni style manner, and goes perfectly with Garudhiya or Rihaakuru. The leaf is known to have anti-rheumatic properties that ease joint and muscle inflammation. The roots are also used by mothers just after childbirth as it helps with nursing. All in all, a great organic addition to add to your meals!
Kopee Faiy (Collard Greens)
Growing by the side of many houses, Kopee is another green that we’re very familiar with. Kopee is said to be of the collards family, specifically the Brazilian kale family. These greens are rich in anti-oxidants and contain vitamin C and E. Apart from that, this is also a leaf that contains Glucosinolates which benefits the prevention of serious illnesses such as cancer. If you’re not a fan of eating it raw or in a mashuni, it can actually be stir fried with some garlic to add more flavour.
Hikandhi Faiy (Curry Leaf)
There can never be a curry good enough if it doesn’t contain a bunch of hikandhi faiy. Whether it’s a curry, mashuni, stir fry, or sometimes even pasta, we’re very used to our mothers putting curry leaves in the base flavour profile of every dish. Widely planted in home gardens across the islands, this tiny leaf is a good source of anti-oxidants. It’s also helps lower cholesterol and is known to have anti-diabetic properties as well.
Raanba Faiy (Pandan)
Of the pandan family, raanbaa faiy or rampe leaves contribute to all things savoury and sweet in our food. Even though it’s not necessarily eaten as a green, we thought it deserved a place on our list along with curry leaves. Whether it’s in a curry or a sweet bondibai, this is as flavourful as it is fragrant. Pandan leaves are beneficial when it comes to lowering blood pressure and helps with anxiety and stress. It’s recommended to drink infused water or even make teas out of this fragrant leaf as a home remedy for such health issues.
Words by Itha
Illustration by Fathmath Azleena