Zucchini is also called courgettes or baby marrow in various culinary applications and is a popular squash variety known to us. Ordinary zucchini is any share of green or yellow though both are equally popular in our kitchens for their inviting color and texture. It is technically a fruit but treated as an exotic vegetable choice by most of us and its shape looks similar to a cucumber with a stump like stem at the end.

Zucchini have firm dark green or yellow outer skin which also offer a good amount of crunch and mouthfeel hence it is advisable not to peel them and the inner part is much softer and juicy, slightly sweet with a very mild and delicate flavor. It is not only being used in salads, stir fried dishes, soups, curries and baked dishes but are also widely being used in breads, muffins, desserts and cakes too!

zucchini

Let us check on a few Health Benefits of Zucchini

  • Zucchini is a great option to include and adapt into our diets for a weight loss regime, being low in calories.
  • Zucchini is a healthy food and is recommended to be consumed once in a while blanched in salads, stir fried versions.
  • Zucchini is also good for the eyes and vision and has benefits to offer eye health as well.
  • Zucchini is full of antioxidants which are beneficial to us in a number of ways.
  • Zucchini is cholesterol free, fat free and low in sodium content as well.
  • Zucchini is packed with a number of vitamins, minerals which are truly an add on to our healthy dietary needs.
  • Zucchini is also a gluten free ingredient and can be incorporated in a number of dishes and recipes.
  • Zucchini is also regarded as high in fiber content and good for our nervous system as well.

Here are a Few Culinary Uses of Zucchini

  • Zucchini is great to add into our day to day cooking be it indian recipes, subzis, curries etc it is easy to add it in just ensure we do not throw away the skin but use it intact for maximum benefits and eye appeal.
  • My experience with zucchini has been very interesting from having it in a rainbow subzi jhalfrezi, stuffed Achari aloo zucchini cups with korma gravy, zucchini kadai masala, coconut and water chestnut curry with zucchini.
  • Speaking of zucchini being used in soups and broths, add it to your minestrone, into tomato dhaniya shorba, zucchini almond soup served chilled flavoured with basil or fennel is great during all seasons.
  • Zucchini in baked dishes sliced, quartered, cubed, stuffed and filled topped with a nice cheesy sauce, olives, herbs, breadcrumbs flashed into a hot oven does it just right to go the continental way.
  • For the vegan lovers and whole food/ plant food based foodie’s zucchini does a great job of being converted into noodles and pasta being dressed and tossed in a number of sauces with crunch and bite for a great delightful experience.
  • Zucchini tawa pulao, saute zucchini cubes tempered with coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilies, fennel seeds and steeped into beaten minted curd served chilled as a raita concept with a meal is just so very refreshing change to a Lauki or kakdi ka raita.
  • Zucchini fritters, cutlets, koftas, tikkis, stuffings for parathas, tortilla wraps, filling for taco shells, adding them to savoury pancake batters and rosti and hash brown potato mixes.

Chef Kaviraj talks about zucchinis

Here are a few interesting concepts and recipes with Zucchini:

Zucchini Almond Soup

Zucchini Almond Soup

Ingredients

  • Green zucchini- 150 gms/2 medium sized- cut into med cubes.
  • Oil-1 tsp
  • Butter-1 tsp
  • Bayleaf-1 no
  • Peppercorns-3-4 no
  • Garlic-1 tsp chopped
  • Onion-1 small chopped
  • Potato-1 medium sized peeled and cut
  • Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
  • Mixed herbs-1/2 tsp
  • Chili flakes-1/2 tsp
  • Water/veg stock-3 -4 cups
  • Almond paste- 2 tsp
  • Fresh cream-2 tsp
  • Parsley- 2 tsp chopped

Method

  1. Heat oil and butter in a pan add in the Bayleaf and peppercorns, garlic, onions and saute for a minute.
  2. Add in the potatoes, zucchini cubes, salt, pepper, herbs, chili flakes.
  3. Saute the mixture for a few seconds, add in the water/stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 mins.
  4. Cool, puree and strain the mixture and bring it back into the saucepan now add in the almond paste, cream and bring to a simmer for 3-4 mins, check for seasonings and serve the soup hot garnish with saute cubes of green zucchini/mint/basil leaves/parsley/ sunflower/ flax seeds etc.

Star Anise Spiced Zucchini Toss

Star Anise Spiced Zucchini Toss

Ingredients

  • Green zucchini- 150 gms/1 med sized, sliced
  • Yellow zucchini-150 gms/1 med sized, sliced.
  • Oil-1 tsp
  • Butter-1 tsp
  • Star anise- 2 no
  • Garlic-1 tsp sliced
  • Ginger-1 tsp juliennes
  • Red chili- 2 no shredded
  • Green chili- 2 no slit
  • Spring onion- 2-3 chopped
  • Baby potatoes- 8-10 no boiled and cut 1 x 2
  • Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
  • Soy sauce-2 tsp
  • Mixed herbs-1/2 tsp
  • Chili flakes-1/2 tsp
  • Red chili sauce-2 tsp
  • Green chili sauce- 2 tsp
  • Water-1/2 cup
  • Roasted crushed peanuts-2 tbsp.
  • Corn flour water solution-2 tbsp. to thicken
  • Spring onion greens-2 tbsp. garnish.

Method

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the wok tossed recipe.
  2. Heat oil and butter in the pan, add in the star anise followed by garlic, ginger, chilies, onions and cook for 1 min.
  3. Add in the sliced or diced zucchini pieces and boiled potatoes and give them a nice toss in the hot pan.
  4. Add in the salt, pepper, herbs, chili flakes, sauces and little water or stock and mix well in the pan, cook for 6-8 mins on medium flame.
  5. Finally add in the corn flour water solution and thicken the mixture and serve hot garnished with crushed peanuts and greens.

Zucchini Chickpea Curry With Rice

Zucchini Chickpea Curry With Rice

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Ingredients

  • Green zucchini-150 gms, sliced
  • Yellow zucchini-150 gms, sliced
  • Boiled chickpeas-1/2 cup
  • Baby potatoes- 4-5 boiled cut 1 x 2
  • Oil-1 tsp 
  • Butter- 1 tsp
  • Lemon grass- 3-4 pieces
  • Basil- 8-10 no
  • Slit red/green chilies-2-3 no
  • Galangal/ginger-2 tsp sliced
  • Thai yellow/green/red curry paste-2 tsp
  • Water/stock-1 and half cup
  • Coconut milk thick-2 cups
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar-1/4 tsp
  • Corn flour water solution-2 tbsp. 

Method

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the curried zucchini recipe.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a pan and add in the lemon grass, basil, galangal or ginger, chilies followed by the curry paste as desired.
  3. Add in little water or stock, the zucchini, chickpeas and potatoes, salt and sugar and simmer the mixture for 4-5 mins.
  4. Add in thick coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 mins, add in the corn flour solution to thicken a little if desired.
  5. Serve the curry hot with steamed rice/ jasmine rice/herbed rice.
Celebrity Chef Kaviraj Khialani has a varied experience with hotels and airlines. He is also a consultant, food designer and food stylist. For more recipes by Chef Kaviraj; stay tuned to HerZindagi.