Every wondered what’s so special about those green, red and yellow bell peppers?
These brightly coloured vegetables are very versatile. You can prepare them the Indian way with desi spices, or use them to liven up Asian dishes like pot rice or add them to make continental dishes like pasta. But it’s not just that lovely flavour or that satisfying, crunchy texture. Bell peppers bring a lot more to the plate.
The scientific name for bell peppers is Capsicum annuum. They are native to Central America. They come in a variety of colours, but the green bell peppers have a slightly bitter taste. The red, yellow and orange varieties are also known as sweet bell peppers.
Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants. They have a low calorie count and have a high percentage of water content. Additionally, bell peppers contain a high amount of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A on consumption. Apart from vitamin C, bell peppers are also rich in vitamin B6 which is instrumental in the formation of red blood cells. It also contains vitamin K1, which is necessary for blood coagulation. Bell peppers also contain essential nutrients like potassium, folate, vitamin E and carotenoids.
Bell peppers are great for you because they come loaded with a lot of nutrients which help with a variety of body functions. However, one of the best things about bell peppers is that they are loaded with anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help fight free radical damage and slows down tissue degeneration.
This means that not only do they help you look and feel younger, they also delay ageing of your internal organs.
As we said before, bell peppers are very versatile. You can prepare them a variety of ways and even have them raw. Here are a few handy tips to include more bell peppers in your diet:
Salads: Cut them up in thin slices and sautee. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. You can anything to the salad- pasta, potatoes, baby corn, boiled sweet corn or cheese. With a dash of lemon juice, you will have a great salad that you can have any time.
Pakora: Bell peppers can make for an excellent desi snack. Cut them in medium sized pieces. Make a batter with gram flour(besan), turmeric, chilli powder, salt and some kalaunji. Dip the pieces in the batter and deep fry. Best enjoyed with afternoon tea.
Fried rice: Boil some rice such that the grains are slightly hard. Cool it down. In a pan, add some white oil. Add some thinly sliced bell peppers, onions, chopped garlic and chopped cauliflower florets. Now keep adding rice in small amounts and stir continuously so that it cooks without getting mashed. Add salt and black pepper powder to taste. If you want to add some Asian twist to it, add a couple of spoons of low-sodium soya sauce to the rice and mix thoroughly. Serve hot.