Friday, 29 October 2010

Jackfruit / Kathal

English: Jackfruit

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Kathal

  • The Jackfruit is a species of tree in the mulberry family (Moraceae), which is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh.
  • In Bangla it is called as ‘Kathal’, in Kannada ‘Halasu’, in Malayalam ‘Chakka’, and in Marathi it is called as ‘Fanas’.
  • It can be eaten unripe (young) or ripe, cooked or uncooked. Unripe (young) jackfruit may be eaten whole. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive texture. The ripe fruits are sweet, cooling, laxative, aphrodisiac and tonic.
  • Jack-fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
  • The seeds of the fruit are edible, similar to chestnuts in taste. They are sweet, diuretic, aphrodisiac and constipating. They contain starches and dietary fiber.
  • The Jackfruit is rich in antioxidant flavonoids like β-carotene and lutein. These antioxidants are found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • It is one of the rare fruit that is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains good amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin and folic acid.
  • The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous. It provides food energy and is a source of dietary fiber.
  • The Jackfruit leaves are useful in fever, wounds and skin diseases. The ash of leaves, burned with corn and coconut shells, is used alone or mixed with coconut oil to heal ulcers.
  • Chinese consider Jackfruit pulp and seeds tonic, cooling and nutritious, and to be "useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol on the system."

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Phool Gophi (Cauliflower)

English: Cauliflower

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Phool Gobhi

  • Cauliflower is a vegetable belonging to the Brassica oleracea species, which also includes Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kale, Broccoli and Collard Greens.
  • Cauliflower has a white compact head of undeveloped white flower buds, stalk and thick green leaves. However, the stalk and the leaves are usually discarded and only the head (white curd) is eaten. The thick green leaves that surround the head protect the flower buds from the sunlight. The lack of exposure to sunlight does not allow chlorophyll to develop. Therefore, color is not produced, and the head remains white in color.
  • Cauliflower is originated in the Northeast Mediterranean and is presently cultivated in most of the countries of the world.
  • Cauliflower can be had in the raw, cooked or pickled form, though it the raw form that holds the highest nutritional value.
  • The allicin in cauliflower is known to promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of strokes. It has been associated with the maintenance of a healthy cholesterol level.
  • Cauliflower contains selenium and vitamin C, both of which work together to strengthen the immune system. Being rich in folate, it is known to help improve cell growth and replication.
  • The high amount of fiber in cauliflower improves colon health and can even help prevent cancer.
  • Recently, it was found that cauliflower contains ‘indole-3-carbinol’, a substance that can prevent breast and other female cancers.
  • The glucosinolates and thiocyanates, present in cauliflower, increase the ability of liver to neutralize potentially toxic substances.
  • To keep the flower head (white curd) creamy white, they should be protected from sunlight. This is done by tying the close-by leaves together over the heads when the heads are the size of a quarter. Over-maturity makes the heads get loose and grainy surfaced, and lose much of their tenderness.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


  • The Plantain (musa paradisiacal), belongs to banana family.
  • It is starchy, low in sugar and is eaten cooked rather than raw.
  • The peel of plantain is green, brown or black in color. The interior color of the fruit is creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. The flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it has a sweeter flavor and more of a banana aroma, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.
  • A banana is ready to eat when the skin is yellow whereas a plantain is not ready to eat "out of hand" until hydrolysis has progressed to the point where the skin is almost black. The fruit is eaten at all stages of ripeness from green to black.
  • The sweet banana is very easily digested, but the plantain must be boiled, steamed, roasted, or deep fried to make it soft and palatable.
  • Plantain has the stinging, bitter latex, so the peel is removed with a knife and the pulp is soaked in salt water for 5-10 minutes before cooking.
  • Plantains are bigger than bananas, harder to peel (especially when green. Plantains are very versatile. They are always ready for cooking no matter what stage of ripeness - green, yellow or black, and plantains are used in different dishes from appetizers to desserts.
  • Plantain is eaten in most tropical countries of the world.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bottle Gourd / Lauki / Ghiya

  • The bottle gourd is a common vegetable in India. It is yellowish green, having the shape of a bottle. It has white pulp, with white seeds embedded in spongy flesh.
  • In India, it is known as lauki in Urdu or dhudhi or ghiya in Hindi, lau in Bengali, sorakaya in Telugu, dudhi-Bhopala in Marathi, sorekayi inKannada, and suraikkaai in Tamil.
  • The dried and cored thick outer skin has traditionally been used to make musical instruments like the Tanpura, Veena etc.
  • The bottle gourd is low in fat and cholesterol yet high in dietary fibre. It contains 96% water. It is rich in iron and also has vitamins C and B complex. It has sodium and potassium making it suitable vegetable for hypertensive patients. It is excellent for light, low-cal diets, as well as for small children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents.
  • This vegetable is very good for balancing liver function. It is often recommended by Ayurvedic physicians when the liver is inflamed and cannot efficiently process food for maximum nutrition and assimilation.
  • Bottle gourd is very valuable in treating urinary disorders. It serves as an alkaline mixture for treating burning sensation in urinary passage due to high acidity of urine. It carries the potential for breaking calculus (stones) in body.