India is a storehouse of countless number of fruits and vegetables, many of which have their own specific season of growth. Some of these seasonal foods garner huge popularity, while some remain unrecognised. But all these fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that are essential to fight several seasonal diseases. One such vegetable, mostly consumed during the monsoon season, is konfal (or as we call it purple yam). It is a species of yam (tuber) that is sweeter in taste and has several health-benefiting properties.
This starchy root vegetable has a purple-coloured flesh and tastes like potato after cooking. Due to its nutty-sweet flavour, this vegetable is used for preparing several sweet and savoury dishes.
Hence, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, on her recent Instagram post, recommended consuming konfal during the rainy season. According to her post, tubers like konfal are recognised by nutrition science "as good sources of pre-biotic (food for healthy and diverse gut bacteria), isoflavones (that allow for hormonal wellbeing) and a variety of vitamins and minerals that improve blood sugar response."
Also Read: Healthy Monsoon Diet: 3 Immunity-Boosting Soup Recipes To Keep Handy
In picture: Konfal kaap - shallow fried pieces of konfal
Health Benefits Of Purple Yam:
This starchy root vegetable is enriched with carbohydrates, vitamin C, phyto-nutrients and more, which may help in maintaining overall health.
The antioxidants in konfal are touted to be helpful to protect our body from cell damages.
It has a low glycaemic index, which can be helpful in managing blood sugar levels.
- Purple yam is a starchy vegetable, which is known to aid digestion and manage overall healthy gut.
Alongside its health benefits, Diwekar also mentioned about the cultural significance of konfal and other starchy root vegetables. "Monsoon also signals the arrival of chaturmas (4 months, this year it starts from 1st July), a period of many festivals and upavas or fasts. These fasts and what to eat during them is a cultural practice that has stood the test of time and is rooted in common sense. They introduced diversity in our diets in the form of tubers, pulses and smaller millets. The tubers were especially important as the fasts ask you to eat a variety of those." For the uninitiated, stir-fried konfal chips are much popular food in India during religious fasting.
Konfal's deep purple colour (due to anthocyanin pigments) is water-soluble; hence it is also known to be used as natural food colouring agent.
This monsoon, store konfal at your homes and prepare various dishes with it!