Herbs & Spices: Curries, v2

Cat’s spice rack

By Cat, Dec 8, 2017, a redo of Aug 2007 posting  (Photo, right, by Cat; photo below from Wikimedia Commons) 

NOTE: This posting is a redo to fix an error. See also the redo for”Blends.”

“Curry” gets its name from the curry tree, native to India and Sri Lanka. It can be used alone, or more typically mixed with other spices. In India, these mixes are ground right before using, to provide maximum health and flavor benefits, as the spices used in curries have amazing anti-inflammatory (e.g., turmeric) and anti-oxidant activity (e.g., cinnamon, garlic and rosemary). see GreenMedInfo articles (24) for more on this.

Curry leaves & fruits

For ground spices, I highly recommend grinding your own for each recipe, because they lose much of their ant0-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity with time, once they are ground. This practice is dominant in East-Indian kitchens; I use my Revel electric spice grinder (made in India), as in photo, below, from Amazon.

Advantages of Curries and Blends

Revel spice grinder

To learn about the health benefits of the individual spices (remember, the whole is more beneficial than the sum of its parts), see Individual Herbs & Spices: A – F and  G – Z. Curries that include turmeric are especially beneficial as a person ages, relieving arthritis, clogged arteries and as new evidence indicates, lowers the risk of dementia. Researchers suggest eating a curry dish at least once a week.  See Mercola’s article on turmeric and dementia (1) for more, and GreenMedInfo articles on curry and turmeric benefits (24).

What distinguishes a curry from a blend? For me, it is the presence of turmeric and cumin, combined with the “sweet” spices, cinnamon and/or allspice.

Mercola (2) also recommends using a spice or spice/herb blend to mix in ground meats or rub on cuts before cooking, to provide antioxidants that minimize harmful chemicals that form when meat is cooked, especially over high heat. He suggests using at least some of the following in your mix; you may also find that you prefer a different mix for different meats (beef, lamb, chicken, etc.):

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Pepper (Black)
  • Rosemary

Blueberries and cherries are another great addition to ground meats, to reduce harmful toxins from high-heat cooking.

Common curry powder 

This may contain:

  • leaves of curry tree
  • cardamom
  • chili or cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • fennel seeds
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • mustard
  • turmeric
  • black pepper

Here’s an example from chow.com (13): Combine the following to make about ¾ cup curry powder

  • 5 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground chile peppers

Garam Masala

This is a popular curry from India; I was taught that it contains all the ‘C’ spices (3):

  • cardamom seeds (released from the pod)
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • coriander
  • cumin

to which may be added black pepper, ginger and crushed bay leaves.

Advieh (Persian)

Grind the following together until a fine-grind is reached

  • 2 parts dried rose petals or buds (optional)
  • 2 parts cardamom
  • 2 parts cinnamon
  • 2 parts nutmeg
  • 1 part cumin
  • Optional spices:
  • 1 – 2 parts coriander
  • ½ part saffron
  • sesame

References:

  1. Mercola (articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/06/23/This-Potent-Spice-Taken-as-Little-as-Once-a-Week-Can-Fight-Dementia.aspx)
  2. Mercola (articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/08/adding-spices-to-meat-helps-decrease-damage-when-you-cook-it.aspx)
  3. Indian Food on garam masala (indianfood.about.com/od/masalarecipes/r/garammasala.htm)
  4. Chinese food about.com on five-spice powder (chinesefood.about.com/cs/sauces/ht/fivespicepowder.htm)
  5. Wikipeda, on five-spice powder (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-spice_powder
  6. The Epicenter Encyclopedia of Spices (theepicentre.com/Spices/raselhanout.html)
  7. OChef recipe (ochef.com/587.htm)
  8. Wikipedia on Jamaican Jerk seasoning (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_jerk_spice)
  9. All Recipes.com recipe (allrecipes.com/Recipe/jerk-seasoning/Detail.aspx)
  10. Wise Geek.com recipe (wisegeek.com/what-is-jerk-seasoning.htm)
  11. Fine Cooking: (11a) Herbes de Provence (finecooking.com/item/5420/herbes-de-provence); (11b) Harissa (finecooking.com/recipe/harissa)
  12. Wikipedia on Herbes de Provence (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbes_de_Provence)
  13. Chow.com curry powder (chow.com/recipes/10576-curry-powder)
  14. WikiHow on toasting sesame seeds (wikihow.com/Toast-Sesame-Seeds)
  15. Dr. Gourmet on toasted sesame seed oil (drgourmet.com/askdrgourmet/foods/sesameseedssub.shtml#.VZiBS2BUNjE)
  16. Wellness Mama’s Chili Seasoning (wellnessmama.com/2170/homemade-chili-seasoning)
  17. Fresh Bites Daily (making ginger powder): freshbitesdaily.com/ginger-powder
  18. Mom with a Prep blog (making ginger powder): momwithaprep.com/dehydrate-ginger-root-make-ginger-powder
  19. Creole Seasoning recipes: Epicurious (epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creole-seasoning-104679); All Recipes (allrecipes.com/recipe/38214/creole-seasoning-blend) and copycat version of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning: food.com/recipe/tony-chacheres-creole-seasoning-copycat-500434
  20. The Kitchn: (20a): Pickling spice (thekitchn.com/inside-the-spice-cabinet-pickling-spice-63744); (20b) Harissa (thekitchn.com/how-to-make-harissa-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-190188
  21. All Recipes pickling spice (allrecipes.com/recipe/231256/homemade-pickling-spice)
  22. Fine Cooking’s Make it Tonight for Week of October 9, 2017: s3.amazonaws.com/finecooking.s3.tauntonclud.com/app/uploads/2017/10/04120550/MIT-10-09-17.pdf
  23. Pumpkin Spice on Learning Herbs (https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/spice-blend-recipes/
  24. GreenMedInfo:
    1. greenmedinfo.com/blog/how-spicy-food-can-save-your-life-1
    2. greenmedinfo.com/blog/turmeric-extract-helps-open-your-arteries
    3. greenmedinfo.com/article/curry-spice-curcumin-selectively-inhibits-cancer-cells-growth-vitro-and-precli (last topic, cut short in title: preclinical model of glioblastoma)
    4. greenmedinfo.com/article/curcumin-turmeric-reduces-oxidative-damage-and-amyloid-plaque-transgenic-anima (last topic, cut short in title: animal model of Alzhleimers)
    5. greenmedinfo.com/article/curry-consumption-improves-cognitive-function-elderly

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