Thursday, 30 June 2011

Snake Gourd, Club Gourd, Chichinda

  • Snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina) is extremely long fruit and only distantly related to the common cucumber.
  • It is cultivated in Southeast Asia, China, Japan, West Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and tropical Australia.
  • The fruit is white cylindrical, slender, tapering with a waxy surface. It is orange in color when ripe and pulpy red at maturity. The fruit can reach 150 cm long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa (sponge gourd) and calabash (bottle gourd).
  • Common names include snake gourd, serpent gourd, chichinda, and padwal.
  • The snake gourd is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
  • The fruit is rich in dietary fiber and contains many medicinal compounds.
  • The snake gourd consists of substantial amount of moisture and little protein, fat, fibre and carbohydrate. It creates a cooling effect in the body.
  • Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, substantial amount of carotene, little thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
  • It is a low-calorie food; diabetics can safely include it to reduce weight while getting enough nutrition.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Oats are available in several forms.

  • Oat Groats are the whole seed with only the outer hull removed.

  • Oats Flakes are Oat groats that are steamed, rolled, and flaked.

  • ‘Old fashioned’ Oats are the Oat groats that are steamed, pressed with a roller and then dried without further processing. They contain all parts of the oat grain including the bran, endosperm and germ portion.

  • Quick Oats are steel cut oat groats that are flaked to .014 to .018 inches thick. They require minimal cooking but, as a result, sacrifice some of the nutty flavor and texture; they are most often used in baking.

  • Steel Cut Oats are whole oats that have not been rolled into flakes. Instead, they are cut approximately into thirds. These oats are chewy and often used for oatmeal and muesli. Steel Cut Oats are also known as Scotch Oats, Pinhead Oats (in Great Britain because they resemble the size and shape of the head of a large pin) and Irish Oats.

  • Oat Bran is the outer coating of the oat grain which is even higher in fiber. It is usually available at health food stores.

  • Oat Flour comes from ground oat groats and contains no gluten (gluten-free). Oat flour contains natural antioxidants that can actually prolong the shelf-life of baked goods. It is usually available at health food stores.
  • Oatmeal Powder is the processed coarse powder prepared from Oatmeal, which, when cooked, becomes a thick broth. Finer oatmeal powder is often used as baby food.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Capsicum / Green Bell Peppers

English Name : Chili pepper or Green Bell Pepper

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Shimla Mirch

  • In Northern India and Pakistan, word capsicum is exclusively used for Capsicum annuum.
  • The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilies with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.
  • In the United States and Canada, the common heatless species is referred to as bell peppers, sweet peppers, red/green/etc. peppers, or simply peppers, while the hot species are collectively called chilies or chili peppers or hot peppers or named as a specific variety (e.g., banana pepper).
  • In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the heatless varieties are called bell peppers, sweet peppers or peppers (green/red peppers, etc.) while the hot ones are chilies or chili peppers.
  • In Australia, New Zealand and India, heatless species are called as capsicums, while hot ones are called chilies. The term ‘bell peppers’ is almost never used, although Capsicum annuum and other varieties which have a bell-shape and are fairly hot, are often called bell chilies.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Yardlong Bean

  • The Yardlong Bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) is a long, thin Asian bean, also known as the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean.
  • It can measure from one to three feet in length, but are best eaten when they are 12 to 20 inches long, before they reach full maturity
  • It is a bean with a mild taste, similar to a Western string bean, that is grown in varieties identified by color as either light (pale) green or dark green beans.
  • The plant is of a different genus than the common bean. It is grown primarily for its strikingly long (35-75 cm) immature pods and has uses very similar to that of a green bean.
  • It is a vigorous climbing annual vine. The plant is subtropical/tropical and most widely grown in the warmer parts of Southeastern Asia, Thailand, and Southern China.
  • They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.
  • The crisp, tender pods are eaten both fresh and cooked. They are at their best when young and slender. Use before they reach full maturity.

Friday, 22 April 2011

French Beans - Green Beans

  • French beans are tender, slender beans with green, rounded pods, 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long. French beans are smaller than common green beans and have a soft, velvety pod.
  • The pods are eaten whole, including the immature seeds, when they are still young, juicy and tender.
  • Quite fleshy for their size, only tiny seeds inhabit these delicate pods. They have a delicate texture and sweet flavor.
  • French beans generally grow as a bush, which grows twelve to twenty inches tall depending upon the variety you decide to grow. However there are some varieties that climb similar to runner beans, these varieties grow up to seven foot tall.
  • There are three commonly known types of green beans: string or runner beans, string less or French beans (depending on whether the pod has a tough, fibrous "string" running along its length), and snap beans, with a thin flat pod that requires less cooking time.
  • French Beans are one of the most commonly eaten green beans in India. Most Indian households make French beans as a dry vegetable either with cubed potatoes or without them.
  • French beans contain phosphorus, vitamins A, B, D and starch, much iron, which aid blood cells production.
  • Vitamin B in them benefits the spleen and kidneys.
  • They help to alleviate swelling stomach, bad appetite, premature ejaculation, and frequent urination.
  • French beans are neutral in nature and can be consumed frequently.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Guar Ki Phalli / Cluster Bean

  • The Guar ki Phalli or Cluster Bean (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus) is an annual legume and the source of guar gum.
  • It grows best under conditions with frequent rainfall, but tolerates arid conditions well.
  • About 80% of world production occurs in India.
  • Young, fresh cluster beans have a narrow and long body with tiny pods. They are harvested for vegetable use.
  • From the mature pods the seeds are harvested to be dried and powdered to flour known as guar gum. Guar gum is used as thickening agent in commercial food preparations like ice creams and as a stabilizer in cheese and cold-meat processing.etc.
  • Cluster Beans are not only low in calories but are also very effective in lowering the blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Guar ki Phalli Chopped

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Chhappan Kaddu (Summer Squash)

  • Chhappan Kaddu (Summer Squash) also known as vegetable marrow (Cucurbita pepo) is the common vegetable in UK.
  • The fruits may be green, whitish or irregularly striped green and white. The flesh is white with no cavity and the seeds are embedded in the flesh.
  • The short stalk of the fruit is hard and deeply furrowed with 5 or 8 ridges and is only slightly swollen where it joins the fruit
  • They are related to the zucchini. They have a very bland flavor and can be stuffed with stuffing.
  • The fruit is used immature and is a boiled vegetable.
  • These are available in North India especially in Punjab during the summer months.