Chappan Kaddu, also known as Indian summer squash, is a small, round, neutral-flavored vegetable in the Cucurbitaceous family. It is cultivated in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for its tender fruits, which are available in different shapes and sizes for use as a cooked vegetable.
Scientific name: Cucumis pepo. L.
Chappan kaddu is an annual, short-duration summer crop that can be grown in a wide type of soil conditions. However, well-draining sandy or loamy soil is best suited for its growth.
The C. pepo plant has a bushy or trailing habit with short internodes. It takes about 60-70 days for harvesting tender-stage fruits.
Chappan cultivar varieties differ in size and color of fruits ranging from pale-green to dark green with white longitudinal stripes. The stalk peduncle at fruit attachment is flared, as in C. moschata (winter squash). The surface is smooth. Inside, the flesh is white with no cavity, and the seeds are embedded in the flesh.
Average fruit weight is 50-80g. When mature, they become very hard and are unfit for consumption.
Chappan kaddu is very low calorie vegetable; just holds 17 cal/100g (3.5 oz), almost same calories as in zucchini.
Nonetheless, it carries ample concentrations of vitamins, minerals and fiber that help in overall health nad wellness.
Chappan kaddu peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps in smooth bowel movements. A sufficient amount of fiber in the diet offers protection against colon cancers through eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
Chappan kaddu is gluten-free food ingredient and is one of better alternative food substitute in people suffering from spectrum of gluten-related disorders. Gluten is a protein molecule in foods that causes severe food intolerance in non-celiac (gluten sensitivity) as well as celiac disease patients.
Fresh chappan kaddu holds good amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin-C is a water-soluble antioxidant that plays a role as an immunity booster, collagen synthesis in bones, cartilage, and blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron.
It provides moderate amounts of (24 μg/100 gm) of folates. Folate is an essential element involved in cell division and DNA synthesis. It may help prevent neural-tube defects in the newborn.
Being a squash vegetable, it is very low in sodium but composes higher amounts of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering the pressing effects of sodium.
Further, chappan kaddu carries small amounts of other B-complex groups of vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, and minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Chappan kaddu is thought to be an alkaline food item, which has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids. It is recommended for treating digestive ailments like indigestion, hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. It is also used to treat diabetes.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percent of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0,5%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.8 g||2%|
Chappan kaddu is a summer crop. Immature fruits are picked before the seeds and skin become hardened and used as vegetables.
Fresh fruits are widely available in the South-East Asian markets around the year. Chappan squash can be easily bruised owing to its smooth, delicate skin and should be handled with care. Farmers generally pack them in protective cardboard boxes to markets to protect their skin.
A good chappan squash should be smooth and of average size, having fine skin, and sweet tender flesh. The hardness of skin and seeds and wanting of flavor denote inferior quality and over-ripeness.
Choose firm, bright, tender, and spherical chappan squashes in season. Buy fresh, average-sized fruits with clean blossom tips and firm stem ends.
Avoid large fruits and tough skin as they are out of flavor, overripe, and therefore, poor in quality. Also avoid, any spot with a surface blemish, damage, cuts/punctured, etc.
Chappan squash does not store well. At home, place in a vegetable compartment in the refrigerator for use within 1-2 days. Avoid extended storage in the refrigerator since they sustain a chill injury.
Wash Chappan squash in clean running water before employing them in cooking, and dry mop using a clean cloth. Peeling is not always necessary. If you wish so, gently peel very superficial skin.
Given their spherical shape, chappan squash makes perfect vegetables for stuffing. Cut them diced or in slices as you desire in the recipe. They can also be a wonderful substitute for recipes that call tinda gourd, bottle gourd, small squashes, or similar cooked cucurbits.
Here are some serving tips:
Diced chappan squash can be used in curries and soups.
Peeled, fresh and tender chappan squash cubes/slices can be eaten raw in salads.
Prepare simply potato-masala stuffed (bharwan chappan kaddu recipe) or more exorbitant Shahi Chappan recipes with stuffed paneer, cashews, raisins and spices. It is stuffed with potato filling but it can be anything like Paneer (cottage cheese), Keema (minced meat) etc.
Chappan squash consumption rarely causes allergic reactions. However, inadvertent consumption of unfit, bitter chappan squash results in poisoning due to toxic compounds such as cucurbitacin.
Toxicity occurs when a raw bitter (toxic) Chappan kaddu is consumed either directly or in the form of juice.
Symptoms may include vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea and can occur within minutes of ingestion of poisonous juice which may follow serious illnesses like bleeding from the gut, shock, and death.(Medical disclaimer).
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