Pistachios are green gold

by Sanjeev Kapoor

What is similar between emerald and pistachios? Well it is their brilliant green colour. And both of them are priceless – one as a gem and the other as a nut.

Pistachios are definitely a cook’s delight, not just because of their lovely colour but also for their flavour and nutrition that they can provide. And they are quite versatile. You can use them as a garnish on both savouries and desserts, make an entire sweet with them like pista katli or serve them as a salty crunchy munchy with drinks.

They indeed are healthy and tasty but do not go overboard when you get your hands on them. Remember the golden rule – moderation is the key. So go easy and enjoy them to the hilt.

History of pistachios
In Iran, pistachios are known as the ‘smiling nut.’ In China, they are called the ‘happy nut.’ Elsewhere they are also known as the ‘green almond.’ Fact is that the word pistachio, as we know it today, has its origins in the Mediterranean: from the Latin pistacium and the Greek pistakion.

The pistachio indeed has a long and interesting history. Native to the Middle East, pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees. Recent archaeological findings in Turkey revealed that humans were enjoying them as early as 7,000 B.C. Since these nuts flourish in hot climates, it didn’t take them long to spread from the Middle East to the Mediterranean. Thus they quickly became a treasured delicacy among royalty, travellers and common folk alike.

A legendary nut indeed
Legend has it that Queen of Sheba loved pistachios so much that she had passed orders that the entire region’s pistachio harvest be sent to her. In fact, apparently, she had even forbid the commoners from growing the nut for their personal use.

Another legend has it that pistachios existed in the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife Amytis.

According to a Moslem legend, the pistachio nut was one of the foods brought to Earth by Adam.

They are healthy too
Almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios is the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fat. What’s more pistachios are trans-fat free.

Pistachios are known to be helpful in curing ailments like toothaches and sclerosis of the liver. And thanks to their high nutritional value and long storage life, they used to be carried by the early explorers and traders during their long travels. Pistachios are also a good source of fibre providing 3 grams per serving, which is more than many types of whole fruit. 

Recommended recipes-

Elaichi Pista CrullersChocolate Pistachio and Nougat SemifreddoFlourless Pistachio CookiesGreen Peas and Pista BurfiKesar Pista Muffin with Srikhand FrostingKesar Pista PhirniPista SurpriseAnanas aur Piste ka Shrikhand 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.