Also known as Japanese pumpkin, this winter squash is butternut squash’s smoother, sweeter cousin. It’s common in Japanese, Korean and Thai cuisine.
Health benefits: It has fewer calories than butternut squash and is an excellent source of vitamin A.
How to use it: Add it to curries, purée it into soups or serve it simmered or roasted. Even the peel is edible.
The edible stem of the lotus flower has the starch of a potato and the texture of taro. It’s found in Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.
Health benefits: Lotus root is an excellent source of vitamin C and high in fibre. It also has healthy amounts of minerals such as copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
How to use it: Try it in soups, salads or stir-fries.
Originating from Africa and the Mediterranean, these “lady-finger” pod vegetables are fuzzy on the outside and squishy on the inside.
Health benefits: Okra is high in fibre and vitamins C and K. It’s also a good source of folate and vitamins A and B.
How to use it: A staple ingredient in gumbo (a spicy Creole soup), it can also be boiled, grilled, fried and cooked into soups and stews.
These greens — also called Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale — have crisp stems like broccoli and flat leaves like collards.
Health benefits: An excellent source of folate and vitamins A, C and K, kai-lan is also a good source of calcium, fibre, thiamine and riboflavin.
How to use it: Add the greens to sautés and stir-fries, or boil both stem and leaves and drizzle with oyster sauce for a traditional side dish.
The insides of this tropical fruit from Southeast Asia (no relation to mangoes) look like garlic, but the sweet, tangy flesh tastes like lychee.
Health benefits: Mangosteen is rich in fibre and a good source of vitamin C.
How to use it: Try it in ice creams, custards and juices, or eat it fresh from the shell.