Basella rubra Roxburgh
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||79 kJ (19 kcal)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||400 μg (50%)|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.05 mg (4%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.155 mg (13%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.5 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.24 mg (18%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||140 μg (35%)|
|Vitamin C||102 mg (123%)|
|Calcium||109 mg (11%)|
|Iron||1.2 mg (9%)|
|Magnesium||65 mg (18%)|
|Manganese||0.735 mg (35%)|
|Phosphorus||52 mg (7%)|
|Potassium||510 mg (11%)|
|Zinc||0.43 mg (5%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Basella alba, or Malabar spinach, Malabar nightshade, Alugbati or Alabati in Philippines, (also Phooi leaf, Red vine spinach, Creeping spinach, Climbing spinach, Indian spinach, Philippine Spinach, Asian Spinach) is a perennial vine found in the tropics where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable.
- English: Malabar-, Malabar climbing-, Ceylon-, Indian-, East-Indian-, Surinam-, Chinese-, Vietnamese- or buffalo spinach (although it is not closely related to spinach), as well as Malabar nightshade or broad bologi.
- Bengali: পুঁই শাক (Pui shaak)
- Oriya: ପୋଈ ଶାଗ (Poi saaga)
- Konkani: Valchi bhaji (Vauchi bhaji)
- Kannada: Basale soppu
- Telugu: బచ్చలి (Bachhali)
- Tamil: Kodip pasaLi (கொடிப்பசளி)
- Tulu: Basale
- Malayalam: Vallicheera (വള്ളിച്ചീര )
- Marathi: Mayalu (मायाळू)
- Gujarati: Poi ni bhaji
- Portuguese: Bertalha
- Tagalog: Alugbati, Libato
- Kapampangan: Libatu
- Visayan languages: Alugbati
- Ibanag: Kubay
- Vietnamese: Mồng tơi 
- Sinhalese: Vel Niviti (Sudu)
- Japanese: つるむらさき, Tsurumurasaki
- Chinese: 木耳菜、落葵, 蚕菜, Saan Choy, Shan Tsoi, Luo Kai, Shu Chieh, Lo Kwai 
- Other: Poi baagi, calaloo,
- Thai: ผักปั๋ง (pag pang)
Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 metres (33 ft) in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra' is reddish-purple.
Soil and climate requirements
Basella alba grows well under full sunlight in hot, humid climates and in areas lower than 500 metres (1,600 ft) above sea level, native to tropical Asia. Growth is slow in low temperatures resulting in low yields. Flowering is induced during the short-day months of November to February. It grows best in sandy loam soils rich in organic matter with pH ranging from 5.5 to 8.0.
Typical of leaf vegetables, Malabar spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories by volume, but high in protein per calorie. The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber. Among many other possibilities, Malabar spinach may be used to thicken soups or stir-fries with garlic and chili peppers.
In Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India, a curry of Basella and Yam is made popularly known as Kanda Bachali Koora [Yam and Basella curry]. Also it used to make snack item bachali koora bajji.
The vegetable is used in Chinese cuisine. It has many names include flowing water vegetable. It is often used in stir-frys and soups.
In Africa, the mucilaginous cooked shoots are most commonly used.
Malabar spinach can be found at many Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean/Indian grocery stores, as well as farmers' markets. It has been shown to contain certain phenolic phytochemicals and it has antioxidant properties.
- "Dictionary of Philippine Vegetables". Retrieved August 31, 2012.
- "WorldCrops Malabar Spinach". Retrieved August 31, 2012.
- Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Basella alba.|
- Multilingual taxonomic information from the University of Melbourne
- PROTAbase on Basella alba
- Delicious recipe of Malabar Spinach
- Photo and multilingual synonyms
- University of Florida Agricultural Extension
- Evaluation of tropical leaf vegetables in the Virgin Islands
- Malabar Spinach Basella alba, B. ruba (WorldCrops)