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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BROCCOLI: HARI PHOOL GHOBI: BROCCOLI BENEFITS, USES AND HISTORY: BROCCOLI IN CHEESE SAUCE RECIPE

BROCCOLI, HARI PHOOL GHOBI, (BRASSICA OLERACEA CAPITATA DC/ CONICA {H})
Broccoli is in the same family as Brussel sprouts and cabbage, and is as good for your health as the Brussel sprout. It is full of healthy nutrients and can inhibit the growth of some cancers including of the colon, breast, stomach, and prostate. It is an important source of vitamin K which inhibits the growth of cancerous tumours in the stomach and colon. It is  also good for the heart’s normal functioning and contain beta-carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, that combats the free radicals in the body which weaken cell defences.
   Broccoli helps lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, aids in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, calcium deficiencies (the vitamin C content is high and this aids the body’s absorption of calcium and iron), arthritis and also helps in combating the ageing process. The potassium it contains helps to lower blood pressure and the folic acid is useful in pregnancy as it helps a normal delivery and promotes bone formation.  It also lowers cholesterol levels and is best eaten steamed so that the nutrients are preserved. You can also eat it raw or blanched. Raw stems can be grated and included in salads.
Pakistani Broccoli ( phool ghobi)
   Many people don’t like the taste; the former US president George W Bush reportedly hates it. But you don’t have to serve it plain. It’s good stir fried and with pasta, break it up into small florets and drizzle the quickly steamed ones with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts lightly fried in oil.
   It is believed that broccoli was grown in Italy by the Etruscans, and then cultivation continued under the Roman conquerors. Apicius includes it in his cookery book, so it was clearly much used as a vegetable in Roman times. Clearly it continued to be cultivated in Italy, but little is written about it until Catherine de’ Medici took it to France with her in 1533 when she married King Henry II of France. If the French and Italians liked it then so did the English aristocracy, therefore  it was being cultivated in Britain by 1721 and was called Italian Asparagus. However it is not in the same family as this, but is in the same family as mooli and other radishes.
   The name ‘broccoli’ comes from the Italian, “brocco” meaning arm or branch. The then President Thomas Jefferson wrote in his gardening journal that he planted broccoli in 1767 along with lettuce, radishes and cauliflower. However broccoli really took off in the US when it was used by Italian immigrants.

BROCCOLI IN CHEESE SAUCE
Ingredients
3 -4 large heads of broccoli, broken into smaller florets
2 oz pine nuts dry fried
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
oil for frying
a bunch parsley, shredded
4 oz cheese, grated
2 oz butter
1 oz flour
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Blanch the florets of broccoli for two mins along with the roughly chopped stems.
Fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent in a little oil.
Make the cheese sauce by melting he butter over a low heat then add the flour and making a roux. Add the milk slowly to prevent lumps forming (if they do blend the sauce to get the lumps out). When the sauce boils add the grated cheese and stir well.
Put everything including the fresh parsley into and oven-proof dish, top with more grated cheese and cook in a preheated moderate oven for 20 mins or until the top is golden and the cheese has melted.
Serve with a baked potato or as a side dish to meat.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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