Inspired by MasterChef, where they put violas and nasturtiums in dishes? Excite your taste buds and boost your health with edible Indian flowers. “Flowers bring in subtle flavour, colour and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and D,” says Mumbai-based macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal.
Singafali ke phool (drumstick or moringa flowers) are available from January-March. Slightly bitter in taste, they are best paired with dals, ridge gourd and peas. An excellent source of oelic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that helps reduce blood pressure, increases fat burning, and protects cells from free radical damage, moringa flowers are also rich in amino acids, potassium and calcium.
Roses, marigolds, hibiscus and jasmine (chameli) can give your daily diet a nutrient boost. Rose petals, which can be made into a jam, can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and act as a natural coolant. Jasmine tea lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and regulates sleep.
Available year-round, mocha, or kele ka phool, is used in curries or dry; it’s low-fat and packed with nutrients. “Banana flowers contain protein, calcium, fibre, vitamin E, and minerals,” says Kejal Sheth, founder of Nutrivity, a Mumbai-based nutritional counselling service.