Z might come at the end of the alphabet, but the versatile zucchini comes first for delicious healthy recipes!
Zucchini, or courgette, is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a temperate climate. With its ancestry in America, this veggie is also called marrow in some parts of the world, and belongs to the same family as pumpkins, squash and cucumbers.
The humble zucchini is very low in calories and loaded with folate, pro-vitamin A and potassium. It has only 17 calories per 100 grams. Unlike cucumber, you can cook zucchini in a versatile manner. The best part about this squash is that it has a delicate flavour. You can cook it with very little butter or oil making it an ideal vegetable for salads, soups, juices, breads, ratatouille, baking and crepes, as is often seen in Europe. You can also serve zucchini with minced meat, rice and herbs in a stew like in the Middle East. These days stuffed zucchini and zucchini curry is very popular in many African nations.
Zucchini flowers are an exquisite delicacy, fried in a little oil with a light coating of tempura batter. In Mexico they enjoy the vegetable flowers as a filling in quesadillas or in soups.
You can also cut zucchini with a spiralizer to make the very popular zucchini noodles or ‘zoodles’ like they do in Vietnam or Thailand.
You must have seen recipes of Lauki muthia made from bottle gourd. This recipe uses zucchini instead of bottle gourd – you can make the same great tasting recipes in countries like Australia where bottle gourd is an exotic vegetable and not so easily available in markets. The quantity of dry ingredients has been slightly changed as bottle gourd has a higher water content than zucchini.
2 cups grated zucchini
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 cup semolina
1 tbsp oats flour
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafoetida
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger paste
1 green chilli, chopped finely
10 sprigs coriander, chopped finely
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp white sesame seeds
Grate zucchini and keep aside.
In a bowl mix all ingredients with zucchini.
Knead it into a soft dough. Use water if needed
Prepare steamer. Add about an inch of water and let it come to the boil.
Apply some oil to steamer tray. Apply some oil to your palms and divide the dough into four equal portions.
Shape each portion into a cylindrical roll approximately 5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter and arrange on greased tray.
Steam for 20 minutes. You can check if the muthia is done by inserting a toothpick – it should come out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into half inch slices.
Heat oil in a pan on medium for tempering.
Once hot add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Let them splutter.
Add sliced muthia. Mix gently so muthia do not break and sauté until you get light brown and crispy muthia.
Raw Zucchini Pasta
Which is the healthiest type of pasta? Generally we think it must be whole wheat or organic varieties, but, there is another, healthier way of having pasta – making it yourself from natural, raw ingredients. Yes, you read that correctly, raw ‘pasta’ – it’s very tasty! Have a look at the recipe below and try it, you won’t be disappointed.
2 small zucchini, ends trimmed
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup coriander/parsley leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Use a julienne peeler or spiralizer to slice the zucchini into noodles. Set aside.
Pulse the basil, coriander and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Add the olive oil to the mix and pulse again. Scrape the sides of the processer with a rubber spatula.
Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
Combine the zucchini noodles and pesto. Add cherry tomatoes if desired.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.