Healthy and tasty! | Daily News

Healthy and tasty!

Allium Tuberosum known as Chinese Chives or known as Nira in Japanese is a relatively unknown vegetable in Sri Lanka. Garden Talk speaks to Deputy Director’s Office of Agriculture Ratmalana, Subject Matter Officer (Horticulture) Chitrani Menikge on Chinese Chives, a hidden but nutritious vegetable.

“Nira found its way to Sri Lanka in 1971. It was introduced to Sri Lanka by the Chinese and the Japanese. It is a very popular vegetable amongst the Chinese and the Japanese. The Japanese community in Sri Lanka, cultivated this vegetable in Sri Lanka. Nira or Chinese Chives is similar to a Leeks plant. The taste of Nira/ Chinese Chives leaves has a taste similar to Onion and Leeks,” said Menikge

This vegetable can be cultivated anywhere in Sri Lanka.

“The vegetable has a bulb beneath the soil. The trunk of the Nira grows from the bulb and it is rather small. Underneath the soil a small Rhizome is also attached to this bulb and grows from it. From the Rhizome, roots and another bulb grows. And from that bulb another trunk grows. And from that trunk the leaves spread out. In this manner an entire bush can be grown. Unlike Onions the Nira plant has a very small bulb. Unlike leeks we do not remove the entire plant we cut the leaves off the trunk. More than planting seeds once you remove a Rhizome and plant it else where you can grow another bush,” explained Menikge

From Nira leaves you can prepare many types of dishes. You cut the leaves off and the leaves can be used to make Omelettes. You can make a salad. The vegetable is full of nutrition. It gives a taste similar to leeks and onions. You can even make a curry and use it for noodles.

“It can be grown in home gardens - in pots. The soil should have compost and should be sandy. Then you can reap a good harvest. It can endure intense cold and heat, surviving in any temperature. The benefit of growing this plant is that it is not attacked by insects or is not threatened by fungi.

When growing leeks you need to administer chemical fertilizer. But this is not so with Nira plants.

Because chemicals are not applied, the nira plant is free from problems connected with applying chemicals.

That is why it is so good for health. That is why it is ideal for children,” added Menikge.

Unfortunately not many people know about Nira plants. It is also very tasty.

Eating Nira has many health benefits

* It is good for those with high blood pressure controlling it

* It is good for those with heart problems

* It helps with lowering the blood sugar level

* It controls cholesterol

It can be easily grown in home gardens. It can be grown in pots or in a hole in the garden. To get harvest from leeks it takes about six months. It takes around a month for the first harvest to appear.

When it comes to leeks plant we remove it entirely. When it comes to Nira when you cut the leaves off it regrows.

New leaves regrow from that cut point,” added Menikge

Menikge said that the Nira leaves too have similar nutritional values as its onion.


Onion Nutrition value per 100 g.

Energy ....................................40 Kcal
Carbohydrates ........................9.34 g
Protein ....................................1.10 g
Total Fat .................................0.10 g
Dietary Fiber........................... 1.7 g
Niacin .....................................0.116 mg
Pantothenic acid .....................0.123 mg
Pyridoxine ..............................0.120 mg
Riboflavin ...............................0.027 mg
Thiamin.................................. 0.046 mg
Vitamin C ...............................7.4 mg
Vitamin E ...............................0.02 mg
Sodium ..................................4 mg
Potassium...............................146 mg
Calcium .................................23 mg
Copper ...................................0.039 mg
Iron ........................................0.0.21 mg
Magnesium ............................10 mg
Manganese ............................0.129 mg
Phosphorus ...........................29 mg


 

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