Phodshi Bhaji: The Hyperlocal Monsoon Green From Maharashtra
Image Credit: Aditi Prabhu/Facebook

When the first monsoon showers hit the state of Maharashtra, a wild leafy green, resembling a broader blade of grass, appears for a short period of 3-4 weeks. This edible green, known as phodshi bhaji or safed mulsi, is available for the limited time period, marking the onset of monsoon season. Although its appearance is similar to the greens found in the onion family, the phodshi bhaji has a vegetal flavour that is unlike any allium.

The flavours of this leafy green also come with a slight bitterness that is neutralised when cooked, making it ideal to use as a base for everyday sabzis and to add to dal, along with a host of usual Indian aromatics and spices. Sold in bunches in local markets, this wild edible green also pairs extremely well with shellfish like prawns or mussels. If you happen to find a bunch of this delicious green in your vicinity, here are two simple recipes to try and enjoy this monsoon produce while it is still around. Do take note to ensure that the white bottom and the vein in the centre of this green must be discarded before being consumed.

Phodshi Bhaji Fritters

Image Credits: Manjula's Kitchen

What could be a better announcement to indicate the commencement of the rainy season than a plate of hot pakoras? Swap the usual cabbage, methi or spinach leaves with a bunch of this seasonal wild green that goes perfectly well into the pakora batter and makes for a hyperlocal tea time snack which is well in-tune with the monsoons. Enjoy these pakoras on their own, with a cup of chai or pair with chutney or ketchup.


  • 1 bunch phodshi bhaji
  • 1 cup gram flour
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon carrom seeds
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon yoghurt
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water, as needed
  • Oil, for frying


  • Wash and chop the phodshi bhaji as finely and add to a large mixing bowl, while you bring the oil to a heat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the chopped phodshi and make into a thick, pourable batter.
  • Use a spoon to drop small morsels into the hot oil and fry on a medium heat until golden-brown in colour. Serve hot.

Also Read:

Bitter For Better: The Tale Of Indian Leafy Greens

Phodshi With Mussels

Image Credits: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

A delicious and unorthodox way to combine lean protein and a hyperlocal, seasonal green – this recipe is simple to make and can be enjoyed as a small plate precursor to a meal or throw in some spaghetti, for the perfect Continental twist to this desi green. Made with a handful of classic pantry ingredients and aromatics, this zesty and buttery preparation is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.


  • 1 bunch phodshi bhaji, chopped
  • 250 grams mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Boiled spaghetti (optional)


  • Soak and rinse the mud from the mussels and let them stay in a pot of clean water until ready to use.
  • Heat butter in a pan and sauté the garlic and lemon zest until fragrant and lightly golden. Add the chopped phodshi bhaji and let it wilt in the butter for 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to a medium high and add in the white wine to let all the alcohol evaporate. Add the chilli flakes and mussels and stir well to combine.
  • Put a lid on the pan and let the mussels cook in the winey juices for a couple of minutes, until the shells open up.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice. Reserve some of the liquid in the pan to use as sauce to dab the mussels into. Serve warm with bread or over pasta.