Ceylon Spinach

Ceylon Spinach (Basella Alba)

Other names: Malabar Green, Indian or East Indian or Chinese or Vietnamese or Surinam spinach, or buffalo spinach
Habit: vigorous grower in tropics – grow on trellis – warm season annual – grows in most parts of Australia – slow growth in low temperatures and low yields – fertilise regularly and water daily when hot
Flowering: November to February – pick flowers to encourage new shoots and leaves as they are the tastiest
Harvest: at its best in summer
Origin: tropical Asia and Africa
Soil requirements: sandy loam, rich in organic matter, pH from 5.5 to 8.0 – if small space, can grow in 25L pot with cylindrical wire mesh trellis used as a climbing frame

Food uses:

• High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium (like other leafy vegetables)
• Low in calories, but high in protein per calorie
• Used to thicken soups or in stir fries with garlic and chilli
• In Bengali cuisine, used to cook with Hilsa fish
• Used in Chinese cuisine
• In Vietnam, cooked with crab meat
• In India, used in curries
• Antioxidant properties

Recipes:

• From Gourmet Traveller, Calamari with lemon, garlic, and Ceylon Spinach
• From Organic Gardener Magazine, Coconut Dahl with Ceylon Spinach