Historically many exotic vegetables eventually became an integral part of local cuisines & got popularized more than the local varieties. In India, currently, vegetables that are referred as exotic have been introduced in the last few decades.
Some of these exotic vegetables in India are not yet household names, while some of them are slowly gaining popularity. Still, for now, these vegetables are primarily confined to elite restaurants & affluent Indian families.
Exotic vegetables have very high market value in India; they are commercially cultivated mostly in poly-houses or green shade net houses. However, growing these tasty & nutritious veggies in your home gardens is not as complicated as it seems.
Most of these vegetables are best grown in India’s winter season only. The seeds are sown in October-November for best results. Many of them grow well in partial sunlight, and some of them can withstand full sunlight at least in winters. The plants need well-drained soil and organic manure.
Here is a list of exotic vegetables in India that you can grow in your kitchen garden for this winter:
The tender part of its stem known as the spear or ‘Top’ is blanched Bromeliad Zebrina or Aechmea Zebrina is a lovely plant.
This cabbage family vegetable has recently made its way in local Indian cuisines. Unlike cabbage & cauliflower, a single plant can give you many broccoli heads throughout the harvesting season.
3. Colored Capsicum:
4. Cherry Tomato:
This is a small distinct variety of tomato treated as a different vegetable. The plant is weak, it forms cherry tomatoes in bunches during harvesting season & needs a support of a trellis.
This can be an excellent flavoring herb & decoration material for sandwiches & salads. It can be easily grown in containers from seeds, takes 6-8 weeks to be ready.
7. Chinese cabbage:
Although referred as cabbage, this vegetable belongs to different species & is more closely related to Turnip. This is often used in Chinese cuisines.
8. Red cabbage:
This is a separate variety of cabbage with distinct purple-red pigmentation. On cooking, red cabbage will usually turn blue. To retain the red color, it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit to the pot.
This variety of summer squash belongs to the same species that of other squashes & pumpkin. The fruit is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment.
This is a variety of Chinese cabbage that does not form heads and has smooth, dark, tasty green leaf blades instead. Also known as Bok-Choy, this leafy green can be harvested in 60-70 days from seed sowing.
Apart from these, due to increased cultivation, vegetables like Turnip, Lettuce, Hybrid cucumber may not even belong to ‘exotic’ category anymore in coming years. Exotic kitchen herbs can also be grown under the same condition in winters along with these vegetables.