Chickweed Pakoras



1 cup chickpea flour

2 TBSP plain yogurt or cultured cream

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup of water

2 cups roughly chopped chickweed (see harvesting notes below)


One small onion, finely diced

One large garlic clove, finely diced


Oil for pan frying






Harvesting chickweed: As with any wild edible, please be sure of identification before harvesting and consuming chickweed. To harvest, give the chickweed a hair cut, harvesting more thick leaves than stringy stems. Wash and then roughly chop the leaves and smaller stems.  I like to see some whole leaves in the pakora patties so a rough chop will do.



Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add a bit of oil. Slowly sauté the diced onion for a few minutes then add garlic and cook slowly on low heat for a couple of minutes more. Remove from heat.


Grind coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a grinder or crush in a mortar and pestle.


Add chickpea flour, crushed seeds, yogurt or cream and salt in a medium bowl. Combine. Add water 1 TBSP at a time until the mixture forms a paste about the consistency of thick oatmeal.

Add sautéed onions and garlic to the batter. Stir to combine.

Add chopped chickweed to batter. Stir gently to combine.


Heat the skillet over medium heat and add 2 TBSP oil to the pan. Drop batter by rounded TBSP into the hot oil and flatten slightly. Pan fry on each side for about 4-5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.


Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.

Garnish with cilantro, cucumber, and crisp, cool greens.  I mixed a quick dip with sour cream and cilantro as a garnish.


These are great served with warm pitas.





A few words about chickweed


I have an evolving relationship with chickweed. I’ve always loved seeing it peek up in the garden and high tunnel because it is the first sign that my favorite season is really about to arrive. I love the wholesome taste of the green leaves and before the small white flowers have formed on the plants in early spring my family has been eating chickweed in salads and on sandwiches for weeks.


Over the years my kids have drawn chickweed plants in detail as a study of the impossibly small, perfectly formed white star-shaped flowers. A close examination will show that what looks like 10 petals are actually 5 deeply cleft petals.


When she was about 5 my daughter even transplanted some chickweed into a pot and kept in on her dresser to snack on in her room.


And any parent who has been lucky enough to have the book series Herb Fairies in their home  libraries has probably read about Stellaria, the chickweed fairy, many times. The book is the first in the 13-book series and every spring we begin with good intentions of reading the whole series. One year (hopefully before my children are grown)  I’ll make it through all the books but until then we return to Stellaria and her healing magic every spring.


I’ve made chickweed oil and then made that into salves and balms.


I’ve lovingly shared chickweed with a group of ladies wanting to learn more about wild edibles.


From this loving beginning in early spring chickweed can quickly becoming a tangly menace in my growing beds. By late April I’m ripping chickweed out of the spinach and lettuce beds and the nutritious leaves are being treated less like the first delicacy of spring and more like a nuisance threatening to choke out my spring greens. The chicks in the brooder always enjoy this period as they are the recipient of the weeded clumps of chickweed and the beneficial soil and soil microbes that cling to some of its fibrous taproots.


By the time fall chickweed starts to appear the days are cooling off and I’ve been eating fresh from the garden for months and so my body doesn’t crave the wild greens like it did 6 or so months earlier. I rarely eat fall chickweed.




In Katrina Blair’s book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds this devotion appears on the first page of the chapter on Chickweed:


May chickweed empower each of us to live out our soul passions


If you are just beginning your journey with plants you may chuckle at the thought of receiving empowerment from a plant. If you’ve been learning from and learning with plants for awhile you will better understand the empowerment that plants can give us.


Katrina goes on to explain that chickweed’s nature is to recline on neighboring plants and that within a few weeks of emerging from the ground the stems are unable to stand on their own. Chickweed then must rely on other plants to kept upright. If no others are around to support chickweed it will grow into a tangle of stringy woven stems and form a carpet like mat on the ground.


“Chickweed reminds us that we need each other. It is an asset to be interdependent with our neighbors and family members. This creates collective strength! We all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses and, by collaborating, we all win in the long run.”


By incorporating chickweed into our spring meals we are opening ourselves to collaboration and to collective strength. We are inviting the support that can move us into a space where we may live out our soul passions.


This spring share chickweed with those that support you and those that you support. You may be surprised at what new collective strength comes your way.