The humble pumpkin and its endless benefits

The humble pumpkin and its endless benefits
By Anuradha Sawhney Nov 20 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
Can you feel it where you live? The nip in the air? Mornings and evenings in Pune are so nice and cool. I hope the rest of the day soon catches up too! It’s still pretty sunny here, and can get hot too on some days!

Halloween has just passed and I was in a part of the world where I actually saw hollowed out lanterns made from red pumpkins, and little children dressed as scary witches and ghouls! Such fun. I tried my hand at making a lantern too but sadly it lacked finesse!

While the west has pumpkin season only for a couple of months, we in India have the good fortune of getting kaddu (as it is called here, or even lal bhopla) around the year. I hated kaddu when I was a child, and would go to great lengths to not eat it, even trying to feed it to my dog, Tiger, surreptitiously! But alas! Even Tiger hated it! And today look at me…I eat as much of it as I can, not just in cooked form but also raw! Howzzat! Life sure has a way of getting even, doesn’t it!

Red pumkin has a lot of goodness in it. It has high fibre content, and you know that’s what we all need to aim for, fibre in our meals. And not just fibre, it is full of vitamins. According to the National Institute of Health, one regular sized cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 per cent of our recommended daily intake of vitamin A! And they are full of beta carotene too. This is an antioxidant which is helpful in cancer prevention.

For those of you who are calorie conscious, one cup of cooked kaddu only has 49 calories! And its seeds help to reduce bad cholesterol. Pumpkin is also full of vitamin C. In fact, if you ate one cup of cooked pumpkin, you would get almost 20 per cent of your daily requirement!

I have given you a recipe today from Bollywood actor Vidya Balan. She loves red pumpkin and this recipe below is her favourite. She told me it reminds her of meals eaten with her whole family when she was growing up. And she says her mom makes the best pumpkin pachadi. So let’s see if you can top that!

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)

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