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Indian lettuce is medium to large in size, averaging 2-10 centimeters in diameter, and the leaves are long, oblong, and flat in shape. The lanceolate to lobed, crisp, green to white-green leaves are thin with a central midrib, prominent veining, and are smooth and pliable. The stem is also green and is thick, fibrous, chewy, and juicy. Indian lettuce has a fresh, crunchy texture and a pungent, semi-bitter, green flavor.
Indian lettuce is available year-round.
Indian lettuce, botanically classified as Lactuca indica, is a perennial shrub growing over two meters in height and belongs to the Asteraceae family. Also known as the Goose vegetable, Tropical lettuce, Ku mak, Yao mak, Ku Mak Cai, Daun Panjang, and Sawi Rana, Indian lettuce is a general descriptor used to describe several Asian plants with leaves that vary in shape and size. Indian lettuce is cultivated on a small scale in Asia for local consumption and is grown in grassy lowlands in humid, tropical regions. Most commonly found in home gardens, Indian lettuce is used in Asia in both raw and cooked applications such as salads, wraps, and soups.
Indian lettuce contains vitamin C, potassium iron, calcium, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and riboflavin.
Indian lettuce is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as stir-frying, steaming, and boiling. It can be used fresh in salads or used as a wrap for meats, vegetables, fish, or deep-fried tofu. When used as a wrap, it is often dipped in a peanut sauce, black bean sauce, or a mixture of soya bean, lime juice, garlic, and green chilies. It can also be cooked and stirred into soups or steamed and mixed with rice, meat, and vegetables. Indian lettuce pairs well with cucumber, tomato, kale, lentils, chickpeas, mango, apple, cranberry, cumin seeds, yellow mustard seeds, turmeric, paprika, ginger, cilantro, mint, parsley, lime wedges, lemon, yogurt, chicken, pork, minced fish, and tofu. It will keep for a couple of days when stored in the refrigerator, but it is recommended for immediate use to preserve quality.
In China, Indian lettuce is used as a digestive aid and is consumed as a tonic to help reduce symptoms of coughs, anxiety, and insomnia. It is also used as a property barrier in Malaysia and is grown as feed for geese in Taiwan.
Indian lettuce is native to China and has been growing since ancient times. The lettuce was spread across Asia via Chinese immigrants, and today the lettuce is cultivated in many tropical regions on a small scale. Indian lettuce can be found at local markets and in home gardens in Asia, especially in China, India, Taiwan, and Japan, Southeast Asia, specifically the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and in Florida in the United States.
Recipes that include Indian Lettuce. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Homegrown Foods||Indian Lettuce in Black Bean Sauce|