Food Value and Medicinal Benefits
Food is one of the basic and essential requirements of every living creature. It provides energy to move and is a prerequisite for the growth, development, maintenance and survival of an organism. Not only does food help in repairing damaged cells and tissues and maintaining body temperature, it protects an organism from various diseases and infections.
As we know that every country has its unique foods and cuisines, so does Kashmir. One of the most unique foods of Kashmir is “Haakh” or Collard Greens.
Haakh is one such food that grows in every season. During summers it has survived the organic parasites and during winters, its growth transcends the freezing cold and snow. With the result, Haakh is prepared in every household at least once in a fortnight.
Subsequently, most of the households grow it in their specified patches of land and even in their compounds or kitchen gardens. With its omnipresence in food culture of Kashmir, Haakh hasn’t failed to find its place in the otherwise non-vegetarian Wazwan. To keep the quality and hygiene of Haakh up, people would use dust and ashes to remove the fungus and worms from Haakh leaves. Some stories also suggest that people would rear pigeons to do the job. Unfortunately, to haste its production, inorganic chemicals are used in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Species and Recipes
Haakh has various kinds and these kinds are recognized by adding that prefix to its name. These are Hanz haakh, Shahir haakh, Dal haakh, Wasteh haakh, Chogandhari haakh, Pew haakh, etc.
“Wopal haakh and Pamshi haakh
are two medicinal herbs
found in Kashmiri jungles.”
The various recipes of Haakh follow the same pattern. These are Siw haakh, Monje haakh, Tset haakh, Tsath haakh, etc. However, it is also cooked with other different foods such as meat, chicken, eggs, fish etc.
This green leafy vegetable is rich in vitamins (Vitamin, A, C, K), minerals, salts, roughage, water and other vital nutrients. Haakh helps in detoxification, increases eye sight, helps in prevention of cancer and is an important component that helps in developing the brain in an infant. Besides, if your skin is rough or you have low platelet count, Haakh is right there to heal you.
Morever, Haakh acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. With its quality of keeping the intestinal tract in good working order, it maintains a healthy digestive system and thus prevents constipation. Due to its fibrous (roughage) nature, it also helps in retaining water in the body.