Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Puwha / Puha (Sonchus species)

Young, small puwha leaves and stalks make a delicious and highly nutritious bitter salad green.

Older, bigger puwha leaves can be stripped from the stalks and eaten raw - or cooked along with their stalks. Bruise the stalks first to let out the bitter white sap (latex).

National treasure Andrew Crowe has written that he eats puwha almost daily.

Use puwha just like spinach, and allow for it to lose volume when cooked. You can cook the buds and flowers as well.

Here are some puwha recipes from one of my favourite occasional bloggers, including one for boil-up.

And some more from other kind contributors:

Anna Wilde from the wonderful Wild Health Food has sent this yummy recipe ...

Puwha and Sesame Salad
1 large bunch of leafy greens such as puwha
¼ cup ground sesame seeds
1-2 Tbs shoyu (good quality soy sauce)

Put a pot about 2/3 full of water on the stove. Bring to boil.
Meanwhile, wash and drain greens. Cut into 2-3 cm lengths.
Drop greens into boiling water and blanch briefly (less than a minute).
Drain immediately. Leave for several minutes to allow excess water to drain, but do not squeeze dry.
In a large bowl mix greens, ground sesame seeds and shoyu. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.

A young foraging enthusiast, Dirk Skagen, has sent this ...

Puwha pizza
Spread pizza sauce evenly on pizza base, add puha, ham bits, chopped tomato, kalamata olives, and basil. Then sprinkle with cheese. By adding the cheese last it insulates the tender vegetables from overcooking and keeps them from overflowing when cut. Bake at 200 degrees celsius.

Dirk and his mother Cynthia also suggest using puwha for a green smoothie. They do it like this ...

Puwha Energy Smoothie
1/2 c. Strawberries
1 Nectarine (optional)
1 Banana
Handful of puwha
1/4 c. blanched or soaked almonds
Pinch of stevia for extra sweetness (optional)
Nut or soy milk (or water, the almonds will become the milk when blended)

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Puwha in medicine
In rongoa and western medicine puwha has many uses, both internal and external.

Puwha links:
Maori medicinal uses of puwha
Puwha pakoras recipe
Plants for a Future Database
Google Images


Unknown said...

Where did you get the name puwha from? I've never heard it before only puha.

Johanna Knox said...

I think it's a regional difference in spelling/pronunciation?

Some places on the net where it's spelt puwha are -

Also Andrew Crowe uses mostly puwha.

You're not the first person to ask about this though! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Johanna, for everything that you have posted. Much appreciated. Best wishes from Nelson, Stephen Coote.

Anonymous said...

Differing pronunciation stems mostly from changes in how English language was pronounced. 'Wh' in the Maori sense is pronounced neither as a 'W' nor an 'F', but as a 'Wh'/'Ph' as we're 'Whether','Why', 'Why', and 'Phone'. The lips practically closed forcing the breath between in a somewhere between a 'P', a 'W', and a 'F'.