Shallots are considered as a variety of onions as they belong to the same species – Allium cepa – but are of a different subspecies called the Aggragatium group. They are also closely associated with garlic too and have a related structure of a head comprising a number of cloves.
Their colour might vary from rose-red to golden brown. They are considered to have originated thousands of years ago in Central or Southeast Asia and the name ‘shallot’ dates back to ancient Greece. They are known as kanda in India, brambang in Thailand and ham in the Philippines. They were introduced to the continent of Europe in the 11th century by crusaders returning from the Middle East.
When sliced, shallots cause irritation in the eye. They lend an interesting flavour to dishes and can either be used fresh or as a pickled vegetable. Their taste is similar to onions, only slightly milder and are prepared in various ways including deep-fried as a seasoning in some Asian cultures. They are primarily used in dishes like sambar in India – a staple dish based on lentils.
Shallots are valued not only for their distinctive essence and perennial availability but also for their noteworthy nutrient worth, which is actually greater than the common onions in some ways.
The remarkable health benefits of shallots include their capability to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, regulate cholesterol levels, provide antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral protection, aid in managing diabetes, regulate the body’s blood pressure, soothe the nerves, improve digestion, boost circulation and aid in weight loss efforts. Shallots have also been an important part of Ayurveda. They have been used as a remedy for infections, sore throat and bloating. Read up the following sections to know in detail.
Shallots are usually available all around the year but the peak time is from April to August.
Selection: Shallots should be selected just the way onions are. They should
- Be firm and heavy in accordance with their size
- not be dry and light
- not have soft spots
- not be sprouting as that indicated old age
The younger, i.e., smaller the shallot, the milder the taste. Usually, large ones will smell and taste more like their cousins – onion and garlic.
Storage: Store shallots in a cool, dry, dark place with enough air circulation. They may be chopped and frozen for as long as 3 months. However, when thawed, they will have the texture of a lightly sauteed shallot without any crunch.
|Calories from Fat||1|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||17 g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g||0%|
|Vitamin A24%||Vitamin C||13%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie
Shallots have the following health benefits for the body
Help in maintaining the body’s cholesterol level:
Shallots maintain the body’s cholesterol level by inhibiting the manufacture of a reductase enzyme in the liver which in turn is responsible for cholesterol production. This helps in reducing the risk of heart attacks, coronary heart diseases, atherosclerosis and strokes.
Aid in controlling diabetes:
Shallots contain phytochemical compounds called allium and allyl disulfide. These regulate the blood sugar level which is important for patients with diabetes.
Potassium is a recognized vasodilator – an agent that helps the walls of your blood vessels relax – allowing the blood in the body to move more freely. The combination of potassium and allicin in shallots releases nitric oxide into the system, which helps in lowering the blood pressure.
The EEOs (ethyl acetate extracts) present in shallots can curb the accumulation of fat in the body which can help in preventing obesity whereas the antioxidants in shallots are capable of boosting metabolism and contributing to weight regulation.
Reduce the risk of cancer:
Shallots contain a high amount of anti-oxidants such as kemferol, quercetin and several sulfuric antioxidants that combine to make a new compound called allicin. This compound helps in reducing the risk of various cancers.
There are no side effects reported by people who take Shallot yet.
- Roasted shallots and potatoes with rosemary: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/whole-roasted-shallots-and-potatoes-with-rosemary-135496
- Stuffed banana shallots: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/stuffed_banana_shallots_37198
- Warm potato salad with shallot dressing: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/warmpotatosaladwiths_86599