Exotic Vegetables? We all know exotic vegetables that are widely sold in Indian markets today but have you ever thought about why they are different and why are they called ‘exotic’?
So, exotic veggies are different as they are cultivated differently because they are high-value crops and very sensitive to pests and diseases. They are commercially produced in green shade net houses or poly houses and then imported from foreign countries to India and sold at high prices. Vegetables that came to India in the last few decades are referred to as ‘Exotic Vegetables’.
As globalisation has done wonders for developing countries like ours, living standards have increased, bringing all these new exotic vegetables to our homes. The exotic market is growing rapidly every year because these veggies, fruits and herbs are great for health with exceptional tastes and so are loved by all!
Even though the imports of these exotic veggies and fruits are less in India than in other countries, still there is a great variety of exotic vegetables available today like broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, asparagus, rosemary, thyme, cherry tomato and many more. In this blog, we’re going to give you a list of exotic vegetables and also tell you about their uses and health benefits so the next time you go to your veggie market, you know exactly what to buy and why! Let’s start!
Cherry tomatoes are small and round. They are almost the size of cherries, hence the name. They are primarily blood-red in colour, but yellow and orange coloured varieties are also available. Cherry tomatoes kinda look like plums. Though these tomatoes are small in size, they taste similar to regular tomatoes.
These tomatoes are indigenous to the Peru-Ecuador region.
Like most exotic vegetables, they are nutrient-rich and great for snacks, pasta, salads and many more recipes.
They are small but actually even more rich in anti-oxidants than normal tomatoes! They may help protect against heart diseases, skin diseases and cancer. They’re also a good source of fibre. Like other tomatoes, they are a vital source of Vitamin A, C and E.
Being a part of exotic vegetables, they are expensive and primarily available in supermarkets only.
Many people don’t really enjoy the taste of broccoli. However, still, broccoli is one of the most famous exotic vegetables in India today and is a part of exotic green vegetables! Green veggies? Obviously very rich in nutrients!
It has made such a place in Indian cuisine that even though it’s an exotic vegetable, today it is cultivated in India as well. In the list of exotic vegetables, broccoli is one of the most nutrient-rich veggies.
It is related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts. Research has shown that steamed broccoli has the most health benefits in it, even though you can have it cooked or raw as well.
This exotic green vegetable has very low carbs, making it famous in the diet of health-conscious people! It is 90% water and almost no fat. It is a good source of fibre too. Compared to other veggies, it also provides a pleasing amount of protein. Broccoli also gives you Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium and iron. So the next time you don’t feel like eating broccoli, just remember the incredible health benefits it is providing you!
There was a time a few years back when finding coloured capsicums for our recipes was so hard but no more! Red, yellow and green capsicum are widely available in markets today. They are loved due to their texture, solidness and eye-candy colours. Bell peppers work fantastic in continental and oriental recipes.
In the list of exotic vegetables, bell peppers are the most commonly used veggies. They are eaten raw in salads, can be grilled, and can go well in almost every dish! Making Maggi? Put bell pepper, Pasta? Bell pepper. Pizza? Noodles? Fried rice? Bravo! Bell pepper!
These are loved as exotic vegetables as they are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants. They have a good amount of Vitamin C and carotenoids. They improve blood circulation, eye health and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.
Zucchini is a summer squash and finds its home in the Americas. It belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo and its family is melons and spaghetti squash. Zucchini is made as a vegetable in many Indian households and can also be used to make a side dish in continental cuisine. Mostly zucchini in India is bright green in colour but it also comes in yellow or golden yellow.
Though it is often considered a vegetable, botanically zucchini is a fruit. But, well, it does make it to the list of exotic vegetables.
It is one of the most beneficial exotic vegetables as it has some amount of several B vitamins, iron, calcium, and zinc. It is ample in Vitamin A which is great for the immune system.
Another one of exotic green vegetables is Lettuce. It is a pretty green leafy vegetable very commonly used in making salads and giving them their base.
The crunch lettuce brings to burgers or wraps is totally unbeatable! Without it, these junk foods feel incomplete. But not just junk foods! You can just use it in any recipe you feel like it needs a crunchy leafy touch! Its versatility is unmatched.
Do you know that water makes up about 95% of raw lettuce? Think about the great amount of hydration it provides! Lettuce is a great source of Vitamin K which gives you bone strength. It is also a sufficient source of VItamin A along with Vitamin C and iron.
This exotic green vegetable is crunchy and crispy. It has long, fibrous and pale-green stalks. It has become a common household staple in the country today. Due to its crunchiness, it is a significant base for salads and is added to burgers and sandwiches. Celery is also used in soups and many other dishes. Celery parippu is a delicious south Indian dish along with celery poriyal and celery dal curry which are a must-try.
Celery has great health benefits. It provides Vitamin A, B and C and minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium are also present.
It helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels, risk of stroke and controls blood pressure.
Parsley is an extremely herb. It is very common in central, eastern and southern European cuisines. It has a very fresh herbal flavour, very catchy colour and amazing versatility. Every restaurant you go to, will have its dishes garnished with parsley.
Parsley can be found year-round very easily in supermarkets. The vibrant flavour it comes with makes it an essential herb in every kitchen.
Not only rich in taste, but parsley is also one of the most used exotic vegetables because of its exceptional health benefits as well. It is rich in Vitamin K which helps with bone health and blood clotting. Vitamin A and C also come packed in this herb giving it great antioxidant properties. It is also very low in calories making it a go-to choice for fitness enthusiasts.
These exotic vegetables may or may not be your favourite veggies but they are a must-have for their superior health benefits. Most of them are also surprisingly flavoursome. So next time you go to a supermarket, do get your hands on exotic veggies and here’s a quick recipe for you to use some of these exotic veggies in an easy recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions :
Are zucchini and cucumber the same?
Though they might look similar, zucchini and cucumbers are different but belong to the same family.
How to keep celery fresh for a long time?
For best results, keep your celery in aluminium foil and store it in the refrigerator. Do keep the celery heads whole. This way it will retain its freshness for 2 to 4 weeks.
Should broccoli be eaten raw or cooked?
Raw or cooked, broccoli is always a healthy vegetable. But yes, the healthiest way is to eat it raw or steamed for a few minutes as cooking may take away its nutrients.