Qadoo ki bhujia, tori ji bhujia, aloo ki bhujia, louki ki bhujia – the list is never ending! A typical Pakistani household gets its fair share of bhujias throughout the week, and the very name sends kids running in the other direction. Though the typical bhujia is a quintessential Pakistani dish, we believe that it’s time to shake things up a bit. Pakistan is blessed with one of the most assorted varieties of vegetables, especially during the summers. However, we end up losing a lot of the vegetable’s flavor and nutrients by cooking it to a pulp, such as in a bhujia, and masking its flavor with an endless barrage of spices.
Instead, why not try out different recipes that keep the vegetable in tact and retain their nutrients and vitamins? Keep reading our blogs for different ways to cook Pakistani vegetables in the summers – don’t worry, all the ideas are tried and tested on kids, and they gobbled them up without once calling any fast food chain for backup! But before you starting jotting down recipe ideas, we believe it is important for you to acquaint yourself with the various benefits contained in popular summer vegetables. This will allow you to get a fairly well rounded idea about which vegetable is suited towards you or your family’s particular needs.
- Tomatoes: Admit it, ladies and fellas. You have often tossed aside this innocent little vegetable by taking it for granted, without realizing its benefits. Little did you know, these foods are not only packed with flavor that adds a zing to every dish, but they also contain a carotenoid (which gives the tomatoes their red color) called lycopene; this allows your skin to be shielded from sunburn and other damage from UV rays. In one study, participants who ate 2 1/3 tablespoons of tomato pulp or paste daily suffered 50 percent lesser skin damage and reddening, compared to those who did not. Moreover, cooking a tomato is more beneficial than eating it raw because the heat causes more lycopene, vitamin A and C to be released.
- Zucchini (Tori): Ever wondered what those green vegetables are that look a lot like cucumbers and are served with your steaks? Well, they are those toris your ammi has been trying to feed you throughout your childhood! Expect to see these piled high in your local sabzi wala’s shop between May-July. Always buy zucchini if it has a thin, smooth skin and is either green or dark yellow and resembles a cucumber in size. They’re a great source of dietary fiber and very low in calories (an average Zucchini contains only 17 calories), so incorporate them into your diet if you wish to lose weight or are suffering from constipation. Pregnant women should also consume zucchini because it is packed with folic acid, which is a mandatory prenatal vitamin prescribed by the National Health System (NHS) in England. Moreover, studies have shown that zucchini can help prevent asthma, improve eye health, balance a Vitamin C deficiency and lower homocysteine levels, which helps lower the risk of contracting heart disease.
- Eggplant (Baingan): Your average baingan is often referred to as the ‘King of Vegetables’ in India due to the sheer multitude of benefits it contains. Mix this up in your yogurt or make a delicious achari bhurta out of it, because it can do wonders for your body! Eggplant has proven abilities to reduce stress, control diabetes, enhance cardiovascular health, lower the symptoms of anemia, prevent osteoporosis, strengthen bones, percent colon cancer and protects unborn children from birth defects. Moreover, they contain no saturated fats or cholesterol and are high in dietary fiber, hence are a great aid to fasten your weight loss regimen. Convinced? We thought so!
- Cucumbers: These vegetables aren’t just great for your dark circles; they’re also pretty amazing for your body too. Loaded with silica, cucumbers help your body generate connective tissue, which improves your skin’s elasticity. You will also find 0.5 grams of dietary fiber in just one cucumber, which is high for a vegetable. Just make sure you choose slender cucumbers, with firm, dark green skins as this shows their tender age and therefore their freshness.
- Okra (Bhindi): These vegetables, often known as ‘lady fingers’, are beneficial because they contain mucilaginous fiber. What this fancy scientific terms means for you and me is that it helps good move through your large intestine by adding bulk. This results in regularizing your bowl movements, relieving constipation, cramps, bloating and excess gas (flatulence). Moreover, it is loaded in Vitamin A antioxidants, which means it can help your skin heal quicker. For the ladies, this means quicker disappearance of their acne scars and any signs of hyperpigmentation, as well as wrinkles and any damage.
So, the next time you wrinkle your nose at the sign of vegetables and opt for fast food, give these poor things another chance and feel the difference in your body! You have our guarantee (and that’s saying a lot).