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Chukka looks similar to spinach, with broad dark green leaves and thick stems. Chukka leaves are a bit meatier than spinach and they are triangular in shape. The pungent leaves have a tart, lemony flavor. Chukka is sour and slightly astringent, due to the high levels of oxalic acid present in the plant.
Chukka is available year-round in sub-tropical climates, with a peak season during the summer months.
Chukka, or Rumex vesicarius, is a green leafy plant cultivated for its leaves and commonly known as ‘Green sorrel’. Seen most often in markets throughout India and surrounding countries, this variety of sorrel is known as Khatta palak, Ambat chukka, Indian Sorrel and Chukka Kura, depending on where you are in India.
Chukka leaves are high in vitamin C, and contain beta-carotene and lutein as well as antioxidant properties. When dried, Green sorrel has been used to treat itchy skin, fever and scurvy; sprinkle the dried herb over soups or salads to treat these ailments. Chukka has also been used to aid in digestion and relieve constipation due to the presence of high amounts of fiber. Those deficient in iron and calcium should limit the quantity of Chukka in their diet.
In Maharashtra, a state in western India, Ambat chukka is a staple in many dishes. Chukka is used in soups, curries and sauces. Rinse Chukka well before preparing. Slice or chiffonade for salads; the Chukka lends a tart, lemon flavor to spinach salads. Saute whole leaves and blend with dal, red chilies and cumin and serve over rice. In Russia, Chukka is cultivated especially for soups.
Chukka is a member of the buckwheat family and belongs to a group commonly referred to as docks or sorrels. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Chukka is abundant in France, Greece, Egypt, and the Caribbean. It grows well in acidic soil, and can be found growing in the Pacific Northwest in the US and in similar climates. Chukka, or Green sorrel, can most often be found at Indian markets.