Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable, and is used in a variety of preparations in India. But the nutrients in pumpkin are what makes this ingredient stand out. Keep reading to learn the health benefits of pumpkin and how to prepare some signature Indian pumpkin dishes.
Pumpkin Nutritional Value
Pumpkin is a rich source of K, C, E and B group vitamins. It also contains essential minerals like potassium, copper, manganese and iron. It is rich in antioxidants like carotene and cryptoxanthin, which help fight free radical damage. Owing to its β-carotene content, this vegetable is also shown to improve immunity. And the pumpkin benefits don’t end at that. It also contains beneficial phytonutrients such as alkaloids, flavonoids and linoleic acid, and has been found to possess antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkin benefits found in its seeds have been known to have cardio-protective and anti-parasitic properties. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, which helps keep your vision sharp by helping the retina absorb light. Pumpkin is also great for skin as it contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene.
Incorporate this healthy vegetable into your diet with these delicious recipes:
Pitika is a popular vegetarian side dish in Assamese cuisine and can be made from a variety of ingredients. To prepare pumpkin pitika, boil 2 medium potatoes and 150g pumpkin. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl, add chopped chillies, onions and coriander leaves along with a bit of mustard oil and salt to taste. Mash the ingredients together and your pumpkin pitika is ready to serve.
This tangy pumpkin curry is great for when you want to whip up a quick, yet nutritious meal. Heat a bit of oil in a sauce pan and crackle rai and jeera seeds. Add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and chopped onion, and sauté. Next, mix in some Tata Sampann Haldi Powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt. Add pumpkin cubes and water, and cover and cook until the pumpkin is well done. Now add a bit of tamarind paste and jaggery and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve hot with chapati or paratha.
This Hyderabadi recipe will make for a healthy and hearty evening snack. In a kadai, heat oil and lightly sauté 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste, followed by 3 tbsp Besan. Mix in amchur, jeera powder, red chilli powder and chilli flakes. Now add 250g grated pumpkin and sauté until the moisture has evaporated. Once cooled, transfer to a mixing bowl, and incorporate 5 slices of shredded bread and grated cheese as you like. Form the tikkis and shallow fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve with ketchup or chutney.
This quick dessert is sure to be a hit at home. In a pan, add ghee and fry chopped nuts until golden, and set these aside. Now add 2 cups of grated pumpkin to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes or until fully cooked. Add 2-3 tbsp milk, a bit of cardamom powder and ¼ cup of a natural sweetener of your choice. Cook until the sugar melts and the halwa starts to leave the base of the pan. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with fried nuts and dig in.
- Analysis of carotenoids with emphasis on 9-cis β-carotene in vegetables and fruits commonly consumed in Israel [Science Direct]
- Cucurbita moschata Duch. and its active component, β-carotene effectively promote the immune responses through the activation of splenocytes and macrophages [NCBI]
- Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review [Cambridge Journals]
- Pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) seeds as nutraceutic: A review on status quo and scopes [Research Gate]
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