How Healthy Is Homemade Curry?
For so many of us, the foods we love always seem to be bad for our health and that means either eliminating them from the menu or limiting how much we eat.
We all know we should be keeping a careful eye on our calorie intake, how much sugar and salt we consume, as well as fat. But what if we told you that the curry you make and enjoy may not be as unhealthy as you assume it to be?
Common curry ingredients
Every food we eat, including spices and herbs, has an effect on the body. Curry can contain a number of spices, many of which can be good for our health.
Cinnamon is used in many baked products as well as curry. Giving a sweet but earthy flavour, it is a spice that helps our body that helps our body to fight off the pathogens that are around us all the time. It may not be as pungent as garlic but as a spice, cinnamon packs a punch.
Cloves are not just used in curries, their perfumed scent adds flavouring to many dishes and products. Used for a long time in natural medicine, the antibacterial properties of cloves have been well documented. Packed with vitamins and minerals, they are a common ingredient in most curries.
Cumin is often used in curry, giving it a pungent, deep flavour. But it too comes with a host of positive properties. It is a contradictory spice, one that stimulates and relaxes. It helps to relax the digestive tract but also stimulates the brain. If you feel both relaxed and more alert after your favourite curry, it could be the effects of cumin.
Used in curries in its dried, powdered form, you can also add the green leaves of the coriander plant to your dish. And when you do, you are adding extra fibre and a spice that helps to relax inflamed muscles and joints. An oft-used herb in many cultures, there is a taste and an aroma to coriander than makes it a favourite in balancing spicy dishes.
Cardamom also has a distinctive taste and aroma. The green cardamom seeds are often used in curry but in accompanying rice too, a great way of adding flavour. Used for centuries within natural medicine, its anti-inflammatory properties are well known but if you need to give your immune system a boost, a curry with cardamom in it is what you should turn to.
Pungent it may be, but as a flavouring with numerous positive effects on the body, garlic is surely the leader. Helping our hearts to remain healthy, a regular intake of garlic is welcomed by the body. As well as eating in dishes, minimise the garlic-breath side effect by taking garlic supplements – still packing all the positive effects on the body, the pungent smell is removed.
Another common curry spice is ginger. Adding a spicy warmth without too much, ginger is often added to curry. Amongst many things, it is a spice that is known to settle common digestive problems such as indigestion.
And with all that spice around, ginger could be the addition to your curry that helps you enjoy it more. And like most spices in curries, ginger is heated to release its flavouring locked away in the tiny grains, coating the onion and other base curry ingredients.
A vegetable used in many dishes, the humble onion packs a punch. As well as anti-inflammatory, it helps the immune system, triggering good reactions in the body.
The right cooking method
All of the spices and ingredients used in curry can have welcome effects on the body from reducing inflammation to helping the body regulate blood pressure.
But to get the best from all the ingredients, you need the right cooking method.
Balancing the spice with the sweetness, the sour with the saltiness, spending some time in getting to know the basic cooking techniques for Indian cookery will revolutionise your curries.
The next time you crave a satisfying meal, why not make a curry? Or the next time you feel in need of a health kick, get cooking and make your own version of a spicy Balti or a soothing korma.
If you want to learn more about Indian Cuisine, take a look at our Indian cooking courses,or for something more advanced, try out our South Indian cooking classes. If you want to learn about curries and the foods that go with them, though, why not book one of our curry cooking courses?