What is zucchini?
Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a vegetable that belongs to the squash family, which includes bottle gourd, pumpkin, melons and cucumbers. It bears strong resemblance to bottle gourd and has an edible skin that can be light green, dark green, yellow or (rarely) purple. This versatile veggie is a storehouse of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium.
Where does zucchini come from?
According to a research, Italian horticultural and culinary records of summer squash and emergence of zucchini in 19th century Milan, published in Annals of Botany in 2016, zucchini has its ancestry in America and northern parts of Italy.
How does zucchini look?
Think bottle gourd, only with darker skin and leaner body. Slice it open and you will see a greenish-white flesh embedded with a number of small seeds.
How does zucchini taste?
Zucchini is mainly neutral in taste, leaning slightly towards the sweet side. Its delicate flavour can be enhanced by teaming with fresh herbs and strong-flavoured oils such as mustard or olive oil.
Always buy fresh zucchini without blemishes or cuts on the skin. Although it is available in Indian markets all year round, the best season to buy it is between May to August. Go for zucchinis that are shorter and heavier.
There are a dozen ways to cut Zucchini and your recipe will usually tell you exactly how to cut it. A few common ways of cutting zucchini are:
- Strips: Slice zucchini lengthwise and further halve it. Remove the seeds and cut into 2 cms thick strips.
- Chopped: Slice off the two ends of zucchini. Cut it from the centre and cut each portion lengthwise into four parts. Slice off the seeds and chop the remaining flesh into small cubes.
- Grated: Remove the ends of zucchini and simply use a grater to grate it by holding it diagonally.
- Cubes: Cut zucchini strips and chop small squares from each strip.
Scroll and watch the video as Chef Mehrishi explains simple ways to cut Zucchini.
Must Try: Zucchini Bread by Chef Gautam Mehrishi
How to cook
Zucchini contains 90% water, which means that it has a really short cooking time. Eat it raw, bake it, sauté, fry or simply steam! You can use almost any cooking technique and it will still turn out great. Zucchini can be stuffed with a filling and roasted, baked or fried. Zucchini bread is becoming increasingly popular and it has also made its place in cakes and cupcakes.
Different cuisines use it in different ways. The French add it to ratatouille, while in Egypt it is eaten with tomato and garlic. The Greeks add it to their stews or simply fry it. Chefs in India usually add it to pasta, pizza and Thai curries.