The term “bell pepper” is the American name for some vegetables of the Capsicum annuum species of plants. The misleading name “pepper” (pimientoin Spanish) was given by Christopher Columbus upon bringing the plant back to Europe. It comes in an array of vivid colors ranging from green, red, yellow, orange and more rarely, white, purple, blue, pink, rainbow, aqua, violet, maroon, black and brown, depending on when they are harvested and the specific cultivar. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange peppers.
Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum (e.g., bell peppers or chili peppers). In many European countries, the word paprika also refers to bell peppers themselves. The word “paprika” comes through Hungarian (where it stands for the fruit) probably ultimately from Sanskrit pippali “long pepper”. Incidentally “Paprika” happens to be one of the pet names, given to my daughter. My SIL, calls my daughter “Paprika”.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers:
- Excellent source of Vit C and Vit A ( beta Carotene).
- Rich in antioxidants, which work effectively to neutralize free radicals which cause extensive cell damage.
- Bell peppers contain Vit B6 and Folic acid. These two B vitamins are very important for reducing high levels of homocysteine, which in turn reduces heart attack and stroke.
- Contains Lycopene, a carotenoid which prevents cancers of the cervix, pancreas and bladder.
- Excellent source of fiber.
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene content, phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Studies show protection against Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Saw these beautifully shaped Christmas ornaments like bell peppers in the grocers, and decided to experiment something novel with that. It came out very good and my hubby and daughter relished it very much.
- Basmati Rice- 2 cups.
- Tri -colored bell peppers-1 in each color.
- Jalapeno peppers-2.
- White Onion-1.
- Olive oil- 3 tsp.
- Cumin seeds- 1tsp.
- Cilantro- 1/4 cup.
- Salt-to taste.
- Black pepper- to taste.
- Cardamom- 5.
- Bay leaves- 3.
- Cinnamon stick- 2.
- Lime juice- 3tsp.
- Cook 2 cups of Basmati rice with 4 cups of water and set aside.
- Slit the capsicum( tri -color peppers), onion and jalapenos lengthwise into thin strips.( the entire 3 peppers may not get used completely- the rest may be used as a salad with a dip)
- Heat oil in a pan and toss jeera ( Cumin), cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon.
- Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 min.
- Now add the peppers and saute for 1 min. The peppers should have a crunchy, crisp texture, so don’t cook for too long.
- Season with salt, pepper.
- Add cilantro and lemon juice for garnish.
- Toss this mixture to the cooked rice. Mix well and serve when its still warm with Raita of your choice.
Serves 3-4 people.