India is home to amazing food and flavors that the rest of the world knows and loves today. From the aromatic dishes to the spicy, they use a number of ingredients that are unique.
Not only are many of their flavors unique, but some vegetables are, too!
Many of these vegetables are little known gems in many parts of the world. If you have the chance to try out some of these, you better give it a shot! From winged beans to kohlrabi, here’s a list of vegetables that come from India. Ready to get into it? Let’s go!
Winged bean plants can be found in most areas of India. These green beans grow up to 4 inches long, but generally do not reach the size of regular green beans.
They are sweet tasting with a mild flavor like lima beans. Winged beans are commonly used in curries or eaten uncooked with rice at breakfast time as an appetizer.
The Malabar cucumber is native to India and grows on vines. It has thin skin and pale flesh, and tastes similar to summer squash.
The skin may turn yellow or orange depending on weather conditions. The fruit contains seeds which must be removed before eating.
These legumes also grow on vines, and are related to lentils. Pigeons peas have a nutty taste and hold their shape when cooked.
They are often served with dal or curry. They are popular in India because they can be used easily in a variety of dishes.
While onions are grown all around the globe, the onion plant originated in South-Eastern Asia. There are different types of onions including scallions, spring onions, and waxy onions.
Onions are mostly available year round and are used widely throughout India. Indians typically eat them raw or add them to various foods such as salads, soups, stews, and chutneys.
This potato is usually seen growing wild in tropical regions of India. Coleus potatoes look like miniature pumpkins and have bright green leaves.
They are very nutritious and high in vitamin A and B6. This vegetable tastes slightly bitter and is used primarily for its medicinal properties.
The leaves can be dried and ground into powder for making medicines.
Lima beans are one of the most common vegetables in India. They are considered a staple crop, especially in rural areas. While garden limas are more tender than store bought varieties, both are edible.
Karela is another name for snake gourds. This vine produces small green fruits which resemble zucchini. When sliced lengthwise, the inner part resembles a large cucumber.
Karela is crisp and delicious when eaten raw in salad mixes. Some people say that the best way to cook this vegetable is by deep-frying.
Another name for this vegetable is brinjals. Ivy Gourd looks similar to snake gourd except that the outer husk is thicker and there is no stem.
Ivy gourds are less sweet than those of snake gourd, and are more flavorful. Often times, they are pickled to make them extra tasty.
A staple vegetable in India, the sweet potato is not actually a potato. Sweet potatoes were brought over from Africa and introduced to India during the British colonial era.
In fact, the word “sweet” came about due to the sweet flavor of the vegetable. Sweet potatoes are becoming increasingly popular outside of India due to their nutritional value and versatile nature.
Indian flat beans are known simply as moong dal. Flat beans taste great when prepared using fresh ingredients. They are often added to rice dishes or mixed into curries.
Moong dal can be purchased canned or frozen.
In India, the pumpkin is called kaddu. These ingredients are used in many dishes in the Indian cuisine, including sweets and desserts.
Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, and the flesh of the pumpkin contains fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, phosphorus, and calcium.
The flavor of pumpkins is milder than other winter squash. It has an orange color.
The bitter gourd is native to Southeast Asia and Southern China. In India, it is frequently referred to as bitter melon.
Like some other summer squashes, it is also rich in nutrients and vitamins, particularly vitamin C. It is commonly cooked and served with hot spices and coconut milk.
The cassava plant is cultivated throughout India. Cassava is a root vegetable has a flavor that is similar to taro.
Cassava roots are starchy and are used in place of starchier carbohydrates such as breads, pastas, and cereals. You can make flour from this vegetable.
Cassava flour is used in India to make chapatis, roti and idlis.
Elephant Tusk Okra
Okra (also known as lady finger) is a type of okra that grows as a weed. Elephant’s tusk okra is a hybrid variety of okra that was developed by crossing two different types of okra: elephant-ear okra and ladyfinger okra.
Elephants’ tusk okra has thick, rough skin that protects seeds inside.
Ginger is an extremely popular ingredient in Indian cooking. It has a flavor that is reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
Ginger is used in many dishes, including chutneys, curries, snacks, drinks, and baked goods.
Yard long beans are a common ingredient in Indian food. They have a light flavor and are crunchy. Yard long beans are made up of several parts; these include the pod itself, the bean within, and the stringy tendrils around the pod.
Yard long beans are eaten raw or steamed. They are usually stir-fried, but they may also be boiled, grilled, marinated, or roasted.
This tuberous fruit is native to tropical regions, especially South East Asia. Luffa tubers are very high in dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
This makes them an excellent food for people who are trying to lose weight. The luffa tuber is most commonly found in Asian grocery stores.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is popular in Indian cuisine. Water spinach has a slightly bitter flavor, which comes from sulfur compounds.
It has a slightly slimy texture because of its mucilage content.
This vegetable is typically sold at Indian markets. It has a small, round shape with a point on one end. Pointed gourds are mainly grown in India, and many other southeastern counties in Asia.
They taste of cucumber, but without the bitterness.
Yams are another staple crop in India. Yams grow underground in tropical climates. Yam sticks can be hard, but not as tough as potatoes.
Yam sticks are often dried and then ground into powder form. They are mostly used in savory dishes like dal and rajma chawal.
The ridge gourd is a large, oblong shaped vegetable. It is typically pickled or preserved.
Ridge gourd is sometimes called snake gourd because of its resemblance to a snake’s head. It tastes similar to pumpkin and zucchini.
Cucumbers are popular worldwide, but dosakai cucumbers are only grown in India. Dosakai cucumbers are much smaller than regular cucumbers. They are used primarily in salads, pickles, and sambar.
Capsicum is a spice that is widely used in Indian cuisine. Capsicums are hot peppers that vary in color from white to red. They are either fresh or dried. Some capsicums are milder than others.
These fruits are typically referred to as eggplants. Brinjals are generally cooked and peeled before being added to dishes. Brinjals can be used interchangeably with eggplant.
They are popular in India as they are used in a variety of different recipes.
Yams are another type of root vegetable that is used in Indian food. Purple yams are more tender than regular yellow ones. They are harvested when they are still young, so their skin remains unblemished.
Clove beans are an important ingredient in Indian cuisine. Clove beans are used in curries, stews, rice dishes, and breads. They are usually mixed with other spices to impart a distinctive flavor. They taste similar to brinjal.
Cluster beans are a significant part of traditional diet in India. Cluster beans are a type of legume that grows in clusters.
They are considered a “garden vegetable” because they are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Cluster beans are eaten both raw and cooked.
Sprouts are common in Indian cuisine. Palmyra sprouts are generally consumed as a side dish. They are very nutritious and add moisture to the body. They have a flavor profile of cabbage, yet they are sweeter.
Cabbages are also an integral part of traditional Indian diets. They are commonly served in soups and stews. There are two kinds of cabbage: Napa and Chinese.
The former has pale green leaves and the latter has dark green leaves.
This plant is known as taro in English-speaking countries. Colocasias are tubers that resemble yams. They are high in starch content and are used as substitutes for potatoes.
Kohlrabies are popular throughout Europe and North America. Kohlrabies are vegetables that look somewhat like turnips.
They are used in many European cuisines. In India, kohlrabies are most commonly found in vegetarian dishes.
The sponge gourd is an edible fruit that resembles a melon. It tastes slightly sweet and sour. Sponge gourds are often pickled to preserve them.
Turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry powder. Turmeric is a spice that imparts a strong golden hue. It is typically used in marination sauces and spice mixes. Turmeric is considered to be a vegetable in some parts of Asia.
Chilies are spicy peppers that are native to tropical regions. They are used extensively in Indian cooking. Chili is usually crushed and ground into a paste to impart heat.
Velvet beans are another kind of bean that is used in Indian cuisine. Velvet beans are small, round, and purple in color. They have a rich texture and are typically paired with other foods.
Snake cucumbers are a type of cucumber that is grown in Southeast Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Snake cucumbers are long, slender, and straight. They are often sold fresh or canned.
Sword beans are a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. Sword beans are a type of pulse crop and can be substituted for lentils. These types of beans usually have a somewhat sweet taste.
Peppers are fruits that contain seeds. Peppers are widely cultivated around the world. Some varieties are milder than others.
Peppers are used in many ways, including adding flavor to food, creating appetizers, and providing vitamins and minerals. In India, peppercorn is popular as it adds a subtle kick to dishes.
Chayotes are squash-like fruits that are similar to zucchini or summer squash. They can be prepared in any way you would prepare regular squash. Chayotes are mostly used in salads and stir-fries.
Lotuses are a variety of water lily. Lotus stems are eaten raw or cooked. They can be added to various dishes to give them a crunchy texture.
Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit that grows on trees. Jackfruit has a soft flesh that is yellowish orange. Jackfruit is used in both savory and sweet recipes.
When Jackfruit is not ripe yes, it is used as a vegetable. When it ripens it becomes sweet and is used as a fruit.
India offers a wide array of delicious vegetables that can be included in your diet. You should consider trying out new things occasionally.
While many of these vegetables (and the odd fruit) are popular in India, many of them are unknown to the rest of the world.
With a little research, you will find many more exciting vegetables that will add interest and variety to your meals! If you ever find yourself in India, you definitely need to try more of their traditional food and test your taste buds!
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