Is Pumpkin The Most Versatile Vegetable In Indian Cuisine?
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The pumpkin does not get enough respect. In Hindi, the word "kaddu" elicits laughs nearly every time it is spoken out loud. (You're probably doing the same right now.) It is used to denote someone who is a ‘fathead’. Most of us don’t have much regard for the humble pumpkin, or kaddu, among the various vegetables available throughout the year. But it is a versatile vegetable. 

In India, people usually cook this mildly sweet vegetable when they want to eat something bland or simple or when there is a funeral in the family. In the West, pumpkin takes center stage during fall as it's used in making pies, cookies, cakes, soups, starters, etc. 

History of the humble pumpkin

Pumpkins have been a component of Indian cuisine since ancient times, when they were grown on the banks of rivers on the outskirts of villages. In the 629–645 period, Chinese traveler Xuan Zang journeyed through India and visited every part of the country, documenting ginger, mustard, melon, and pumpkin. In the Sindh desert, only pumpkins thrived in river beds that were dry because of the lack of rain, as noted by Ibn Battuta. 

Benefits of eating pumpkin

Vitamin A

One cup of pumpkin can give you 200% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake. Pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the human body. Vitamin A is essential for avoiding illnesses caused by germs and running your physiological system properly. It also helps your heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs stay healthy. It strengthens your vision, especially in low-light conditions. Vitamin A also helps protect against the risk of chronic diseases like cancer. 

Strengthens immunity

Besides beta-carotene, pumpkins provide vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, which bolster the immune system. The more pumpkins you consume, the harder your immune cells will work to prevent germs and speed healing when you get wounded. 

Keeps blood pressure down

Pumpkins are also packed with potassium, which contributes to lowering blood pressure. Unsalted pumpkin seeds are full of minerals and plant sterols that boost HDL cholesterol levels and keep blood pressure levels down. 

Boosts bone health

The same potassium levels can lower your risk of stroke, kidney stones, and type 2 diabetes, as well as enhance bone health. 

Helps with weight loss

Pumpkins are an excellent choice if you're looking to boost your fiber intake while consuming fewer calories. Fiber is nutrient-dense and promotes digestive health, so fiber-rich pumpkin is a great option for those looking to lose weight. 

Pumpkin's sweet taste and plushiness are what make it so flexible as a vegetable. From desserts to soups to cookies, these creative recipes will change your viewpoint on this vegetable. 

Creative recipes to make with pumpkin:

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin spice cookies are thick and cakey. It is a quick and easy cookie recipe where you need pumpkin puree, flour, baking powder, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ground ginger to make it. Bake it like you normally do, and voilà, you have some yummy cookies made with pumpkin. 

Pumpkin Risotto

You can create an amazing risotto using pumpkin if you follow a few simple steps. It sounds really delicious, and you can make this Italian favorite with pumpkin or kaddu. To make it, you will need arborio rice, mashed pumpkin, sour cream, some white wine, and some aromatic herbs that are slow-cooked for this quick one-pot meal. 

Spiced Pumpkin ice cream

We bet you’ve never heard of pumpkin ice cream before. But this delectable ice cream can be easily made using pumpkin puree. Mix condensed milk, pumpkin puree, and ground spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to make homemade ice cream with pumpkin. 

Pumpkin Soup

With the approaching winter season, it’s time to dive into a delicious bowl of pumpkin soup made with pumpkin puree and fresh cream. Spice it up with some enticing spices and enjoy it with crispy croutons. 

Pumpkin Pasta

Make this for your kids if they are fussy about veggies, and they will come back asking for more. Add pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, parmesan cheese, spices, coconut milk, etc. to your regular pasta dish and enjoy it. 

Pumpkin Fries

Craving some crispy fries, but don’t want the heavy, fattening potato ones? Then try low-calorie pumpkin fries that taste and feel crispy. To make them, cut the pumpkin into thin slices like you do with potatoes, then add some Tabasco sauce, garlic, chili, salt, and corn flour and fry till crisp.  

The versatility of the pumpkin does not get enough appreciation. With a bit of your own creativity, you can add a range of really tasty dishes to your skill set.