Stir Fried “Pui” with Poppy Seeds


Pui/Poi/Pohi/Valchi or the Ceylon Spinach/Malabar Spinach are all but different names for this leafy Spinach like Green “fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 m in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture.” (Wiki). The Scientific name for the Pui is Basella alba. You can read more about it in the Herb Society of America.

I had been having a steady supply of the mentioned greens all of last year from a dear friend of ours, who happens to grow almost everything in his back yard. What I did was take some of the unused stiff stalks & planted them in a pot indoors (This year they have been planted outside). They have been growing wild creeping & crawling into nook & corners & looking pretty too! The leaves, stalks & the seeds can all be cooked. Tear off the leaves, break the pliable stalks. The seeds are soft but slightly crunchy – slightly nutty while they are green & pink, however they turn really hard when they are ripe & purple. Discard these or sow them in the veggie patch. The greens can be washed chopped & frozen for later use.


In the Eastern regions (Bengal & Assam) of India, Pui Saag (saag=any edible leafy greens) are cooked with a lot of other vegetables in to a dish called “chorchori” (dry fry where the vegetables remain distinct) or “Ghonto” (almost same as the chorchori but this one is stirred a lot while cooking) , or they are blended into a very unique combination of the greens, variety of vegetables & shrimp, called Pui Chingri (chingri = shrimp).

What I have done is a very simple recipe that my mom & my grandmom would make. It is aย  stir fry with a lot of flavor of garlic, almost caramelized onions and a sprinkle of poppy seeds.



  1. 4.5 Cups Lightly packed Pui Greens, chopped into thin ribbons
  2. 3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  3. 1 Medium sized Onion, sliced
  4. 2 Hot Green Chilli Peppers
  5. 2 Tablespoons White Poppy Seeds/Khus Khus (this one adds a slight crunch)
  6. 3 Tablespoons oil


Add Oil in a flat pan/skillet. Add the chopped garlic & heat the oil. Allow the garlic to heat with the oil, this allows the flavor of the garlic to be infused in the oil.

When the oil heats up, you will see the garlic sizzle. Do not let them turn brown. Add the Onions & the Green Hot Pepper. When the Onions are soft & translucent & start to caramelize & turn brown, add the Pui Greens.

The greens will release a lot of water. Cook till the water evaporates & the color changes from the bright green to dark green.

When most of the water evaporates, increase the heat & Stir Fry till all the water dries off, & you hear the sizzle.

Sprinkle the poppy seeds on the top & toss to combine.

Serve warm.


Home grown & cooked, this goes to the HOTM hosted by Michelle of the Accidental Scientist. The theme this time is The Locavore.

Related Posts:

Bitter Melon & Potato Stir Fry with Poppy Seeds

Simply Seasoned Red Lentils – A Taste of Home

Dum Aloo: Potatoes Simmered in Spices & Coconut Milk

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

34 comments to Stir Fried “Pui” with Poppy Seeds

  • The dish looks delicious soma…never tried pui before…do we really require 3 tbsp of oil?

  • I had them growing in the garden last year. Like you said the flowers are really pretty. I bet down there in Texas they stay alive most of the year? Don’t they?
    This stir fry looks delicious. I make this all the time but never added poppy seeds, coconut yes.

  • That looks very, very good, especially with the carmelised onions! You always manage to hit the spot for me with your recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

  • oh this is a beautiful way to eat thjose greens !
    Even though poppy seeds are not allowed in Singapore, will be trying this next time i get pui saag

  • Oh those cute lil flowers look so beautiful,Nice cruchy twist by adding poppy seeds

  • A&N

    How do you come up with these things? And I haven’t even heard of this. Please move to Atlanta, Soma. No bunnies here, I promise. If you miss them, A and I could be bunnies ๐Ÿ˜›

    I can drive your kids ๐Ÿ˜‰ and also – babysit them. Free dessert for DH ๐Ÿ˜›

    These are recipes from back home. Your deal sounds irresistible, Really!! I would not mind. I could experiment all day without having to think of running around & have shares of those awesome desserts & your “Daring” stuffs. Start looking for a job:-D

  • lovely recipe… it feels good when one cooks from home-grown stuff, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • nice recipe. we call this as teega bacchali in Telugu and your recipe is very mew to me.

  • This is a new dish for me, looks really healthy and yummy too.

  • I love any kind of green, and it always makes me hungry to see it… Looks so tasty!

  • I have never heard of these greens and they sound wonderful

  • After looking at the picture of Malbar Spinach I think I remember that I have tasted it. My mom used to grow it in our house. But strangely enough i have never seen it here in the US. Loved the simple recipe with the greens.

  • Cham

    I know this green, good for mouth ulcer and even stomach. I only had in India, may be i should bring some seeds next time. Ur curry is different and tasty!

  • I don’t think I have ever had anything made with these greens but they sound delightful and the curry looks really delicious !

  • This grows abundantly in these parts as well. In Guyana the call it poi which is variation of pui I am sure. It is also called thick-leaf callaloo ๐Ÿ™‚

    WOW!! It’s called Poi there too! .. Is the Caribbean dish Callaloo made with these leaves?

  • Oh… this with hot steamed rice, Nan- Oh goodness you have me salivating.

  • Hi Soma,
    We call pui ‘vali’ in konkani ๐Ÿ™‚ wow! you’ve grown some lovely greens!My Amma also grows the greens the same way as u do ๐Ÿ™‚ our Konkani version of stir fry is very simple with mustard,dals and red chilli tempering,salt and sugar to taste and garnishing with grated coconut….this one with posto is absolutely new to me. Shall try this sometime. Today I’ll be preparing potol posto :D….thanks for another posto recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have never heard this before,sure looks pretty with poppy seeds! Should taste great !!

  • Sig

    I have never had these greens, why are they called Malabar greens? These grow in Kerala? Never seen this variety there, but it looks pretty and the dish looks delicious!

  • I always learn something new when I visit here ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  • sandeepa

    Soma, how big is the pot in which you planted and is it always indoors? I convinced D that we could grow pui from stalks, hope to get some and plant this weekend

  • Hi Soma…Pls do check my blog..something special for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’ve never tried this before but it sounds really delicious!

  • Maybe I should try planting them too … it is so difficult … almost impossible to get them here. Seeing your dish … am getting J big time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • For a second I thought this was the Hawaiian specialty. I’ll keep an eye out for this at the local Indian grocers. Is this a seasonal thing?

    What is the Hawaiian specialty? I have seen these available in the Indian Grocers during Spring & Summer, but i think they would grow all year round given some warm weather. I have mine in a pot indoors ( not enough to be cooked all year round) .. but they have survived. Now with the weather warming up, i have planted them outside.

  • Soma, same recipe ami kari spinach diye..I have to try with pui, too

  • mohana

    AH HA RE !!!! jodi eta aaj lucj a petam re didi !!!

  • Awesome, authentic & mmm mouthwatering

  • Hi Soma,

    I just loved this preparation for pui. I was writing one post on this herb, and thought of putting this link of yours as a further reading. I hope you don’t mind. Will let you know when I post the recipe (probably today or tomorrow.)

  • SRC

    Lovely pictures!

  • Wow… very good use of poppy seeds. I have used poppy seeds in aloo pakora for that added crispness… here’s the recipe:

  • Kamalika Bhattacharyya

    To all those living in US and dont know where to find Pui Shaak :
    Pui Shaak or Montoy leaves are well available in the united states .. more towards the south where the weather promotes the growth of this leafy vegetable … Like texas and atlanta for sure !! I stay in Atlanta and I get Pui shaak from local farmers market (named as Montoy) or Patel brothers or even the local Bangladeshi store here in Chamblee Dunwoody …
    They are more easily grown when its hot and it rains … Atlanta and Texas surely u can grow them in your backyard … its a climber plant … very low maintenance … if you stay in cooler regions check ur local bangladeshi store for seasonal pui leaves …

  • […] Timeline: history notes-meatFried Chicken, Funnel Cakes and Food Entrepreneurs at the San …Stir Fried รขย€ยœPuiรขย€ย with Poppy Seeds | eCurry – The Recipe BlogCucur Badak Recipe | Easy Asian Recipes at RasaMalaysia.comBonnie’s Twice Cooked Oven Fried […]

  • […] to our garden project was to transport a tiny piece of my childhood to our backyard. I read in this wonderful blog, about how easy it was to grow this green.Early in summer, when I had gotten a bunch of Malabar […]

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

subscribe twitter icons


Find eCurry in: