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Oh, my gourd!

The humble white pumpkin is rapidly pushing its way up the popularity charts with its weight-loss attributes, writes Shilpi Madan
Last Updated : 16 July 2022, 19:00 IST
Last Updated : 16 July 2022, 19:00 IST

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Admit it. The first time the pumpkin gained glamorous dimensions was when Cinderella’s swanky carriage emerged from its rotund shape in the fairytale. Cut to 2022. With the white pumpkin coconut stew you have grown up on elbowed aside by roast pumpkin tarts, now the spicy pumpkin latte is making inroads in your beverage list along with herbed versions in a modern format. Of the 45-odd varieties of the vegetable, the white pumpkin trumps the lot with its nutrient density and low-calorie powers.

The first ingestion

The pale pumpkin sip in the morning on an empty stomach is a favoured start to the day. Mini white pumpkins are tender and sweet with nutty flavours reminiscent of acorn squash, says general physician Dr Anshul Maheshwari. “Drinking white pumpkin juice every morning on an empty stomach has numerous health benefits. It betters the functioning of the digestive system, improving your metabolic rate and hence helping in the efficient burning of deposited fat layers, resulting in weight loss. Packed with dietary fibre, it regularises bowel movements too,” adds Dr Anshul. If you are looking at editing that belly fat out of your frame, white pumpkin is your calling. The vitamin cocktail the white pumpkin juice brings with it spells overall health. Replete with vitamins A, C, and E, the sip packs in potassium and calcium, together with a rich dose of antioxidants that give you a glowing complexion. “Vitamin A softens and soothes your skin, whereas Vitamin C fights free radical damage. This makes the white pumpkin a must-have, especially for women who are dealing with hair loss. It is also beneficial for expecting mothers, providing essential nutrition required for the growth of a healthy baby,” believes Dr Anshul. “As white pumpkin is rich in phytosterols, it can substitute and normalise cholesterol to a balanced level,” adds Dr Anshul.

Seed it

White pumpkin seeds are a good source of much-needed magnesium. You can rinse and roast to munch on them or simply sprinkle on salads and soups, or even blend them into your smoothie. From sauces, dips, puddings and chutneys, the superfood fix in the seeds can be enjoyed as a delicious, crunchy garnish. Pumpkin seeds have cucurbitacin, a unique amino acid that helps in hair growth. These are also rich in vitamin C, which drives hair growth, especially for women grappling with anaemia. You can apply pumpkin seed oil on the scalp or stroke up salads with a teaspoon of this oil to experience great results.

“Ash gourd is also called wax gourd, winter gourd and ash pumpkin, or petha in Hindi. I blend about 250 g of petha and juice of half a sliced lemon, strain and sip. This works beautifully in fobbing off acidity, ulcers, and piles. It is great for skin and hair, and hydrates and relaxes at the same time,” says Shweta Shah, a dietitian and nutritionist.

White pumpkin curry

Ingredients

White pumpkin: 2 cups (chopped into cubes)

Onion: 1 (finely chopped)

Cooking oil: 2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon

Cumin seeds: 1/2 teaspoon

Few curry leaves

Salt to taste

Method

Make a paste of the following ingredients:

Coconut: 1/2 cup (grated)

Turmeric powder: a pinch

Cumin seeds: 1/2 teaspoon

Green chillies: 3

Coriander seeds: 1 teaspoon

Garlic cloves: 5 to 6

Cinnamon stick: 1 inch

Cloves: 2

Cook the pumpkin cubes in a small amount of water with a pinch of salt until they are tender. Make sure they aren’t overcooked. Remove the boiled pumpkin cubes from the water and set them aside. To make a smooth paste, blend the coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies, coriander seeds, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cloves with a little water. Set aside for some time. In a pan, heat the oil. Sauté the mustard seeds until they cease spluttering. Stir in the cumin seeds and fresh curry leaves. Cook until the onions are transparent, then toss in the ground masala, salt, and a splash of water. Cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Finally, stir in the boiling pumpkin chunks thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame with the lid on the pan. Cook the curry until it reaches a delicious medium consistency. Then the curry is ready to eat.

(Recipe courtesy Dr Anshul)

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Published 16 July 2022, 18:32 IST

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