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It doesn't sound very appetising, but pigweed could soon be on the menu if Prince Charles has his way.

It's one of a handful of unusual and unfashionable long-lost foods from ancient times that could help solve the problem of how to feed the world's booming population, according to the heir of the British throne.

The Prince of Wales has launched a campaign called the Forgotten Foods network that will be dedicated to finding more exotic superfoods to feed millions and beat global warming.

Some of these ancient foods are already becoming more popular, with Malaysian organisation Crops of the Future finding creative ways to cook with the unusual ingredients. More elaborate dishes included dragon fruit tortellini with turmeric yoghurt and mint oil. 

Meanwhile Aztec pigweed can be used to make soups, burgers and can even replace rice.  They hope pigweed - otherwise known as moringa - as well as dragon fruit, winged beans and long-lost bambara groundnuts will be among foods to become as popular as quinoa has been with foodies.

Quinoa was once considered the 'lost crop of the Incas' but can now be found on cafe menus all over then world. 

Prince Charles got to taste some of the unusual ingredients in Kuala Lumpur,  including kevaru roti, a type of millet grown in arid areas of Africa and Asia.

"They’re good,’ he said. ‘And very nutritious as well, are they?’ Also on the menu were biscotti using bambara groundnut rather than almond, as well as soup, mini-burgers and quiche made from moringa, a superfood dating back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans.  

Crops of the Future is now collecting forgotten recipes and testing them for their nutritional value and growing abilities in hotter weather. 

One royal aide said the prince was passionate about the project, while Charles himself said that the focus on finding crops that would grow in the future was ‘crucial for food security over the next 20 years’. 

He also praised the food project as ‘impressive’ as he launched it during his 11-day visit to South East Asia.

Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, of the Forgotten Foods Network, said: ‘It’s about collecting recipes from as many people as possible from all over the world, and learning from them.’

Daily Mail