Non-Native Vegetables and Fruits of India – Part I
When we see some of the vegetables and fruits in the market, they have become an integral part of Indian cuisine, which if we dig deeper some of them are not of Indian origin. Even then they have become a daily part of our life and Indian kitchen and also many have gained some much importance that India is one of the leading exporters of these vegetables and fruits, isn’t that amazing 😊.
Let’s take a look at some of the vegetables and fruits, which could be mistaken of Indian origin:
I cannot think of many Indian dishes without cauliflower, like Aloo Gobi, Gobi Masala, Aloo Gobi Matar, Gobi Manchurian many of these dishes have been having since childhood either in any restaurant or at the house and my most favorite is Gobi Manchurian which caught like fire in many Southern Indian states where they saw it as a substitute or replacement for chicken Manchurian. Just imagine cauliflower is just 150 years old in the Indian subcontinent and it has accepted and inculcated into our Indian Cuisine that it’s hard to say that this vegetable is very young in Indian cuisine has become an integral part of our diet. It was introduced from England approx. in 1820s to India.
This vegetable is also very helpful to your health i.e rich in fiber, fights cancer / helps in reducing the risk of cancer, rich in vitamin B and C, so in short, it can be called a superfood.
This tuber i.e., the potato was first supposedly introduced to western India by the Portuguese, this was originally cropped in Peru around 8000 to 6000 BC, in one of the Spanish conquests around 1500 ‘s, they discovered the flavors of the potato which was grown in Peru, and carried them to Europe. This was later introduced to India around the 17th century in western India by the Portuguese, which they called “batata” 😊. And following the same British started cultivating this fascinating vegetable in West Bengal and by the 18th century, it was widely cultivated all over the northern hill of India.
Now Potato – Alu or Aloo which is normally called in India, Aloo in Hindi is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Alu’ meaning root or yam. Some of the famous dishes of aloo/potato are Jeera Aloo, Samosa (popular Indian street food), Batata Vada (a popular snack in Maharashtrian cuisine), Vada pav (again another a popular snack in Maharashtrian cuisine) Aloo/potato Sandwich (Again very popular snack from roadsides of Mumbai) Potato Korma (Made from freshly ground masala typically made in Southern regions of India), Aloo Paratha (famous Punjabi dish which is now seen all over India)
From the above sample dishes, we can see how widespread this vegetable/tuber is used in Indian cuisine, it’s surprising and amazing to see, how we are inclusive in food also 😊, it’s hardly been 300 to 400 years since potatoes been introduced in the Indian subcontinent. We have always been thought that potato is not good for health on the contrary they are a good source of fiber, they also assist in keeping cholesterol and blood sugar levels in control.
When thinking of chilly we can never think of this vegetable origin to be from outside India. It’s so ingrained in our Indian cuisine; I do not think that any recipe goes without adding this spicy vegetable. And our dishes are well known to be spicy compared to many counterparts in many parts of the world.
It has its origins in Mexico, it was bought by Vasco De Gama in the 14th century before that we used pepper to spice up the dishes. We use chili in many of the dishes which also has enormous health benefits, which means it’s a good source of vitamin C and B6 which are very vital for wound healing and immune function. In fact, if you see red chilly is nothing but green chilly ripens into red chilly, only that when it’s dried it loses most of the water content and nutrients also. That’s we use more green chilly than dried red chilly, which can cause ulcer and bowel inflammation.
Have given details in the post – Green Chilly vs Red Chilly : Epic Battle
These kidney beans are also not native to India, in the regions of Bihar and northern India, it’s a staple diet i.e. rajma curry and plain rice. Kidney beans are native to Central America and Mexico. One can see many dishes using these kidney beans in Mexican Bean Rice, Mexico like kidney beans tacos, kidney bean chili, chili in tortilla bowls, and fajita chili corn bowl we can name many more.
Most important is it was a major source of protein in major cuisines since in 100 gms boiled beans we can find almost 9 gms protein which is 27% of the total calorie count required for the day. It’s very beneficial to people with diabetes as its starch is a slow-release carb and this takes digestion a longer time, and in turn, causes a lower and more gradual rise in blood sugar than other starches.
In short Kidney beans are a good source of several vitamins and minerals.
Here is the recipe for the Indian version of Rajma chawal Rajma Chawal | Kidney Beans Curry & Rice
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon #blogchatterhalfmarathon. We will explore more vegetables and fruits in the second part of the post.