The Superhuman Food Pyramid spotlight is now on curry.
Curry doesn’t point to any one spice but rather to a mixture of them. The name is said to come from the word kari which is Tamil for “sauce”. The British first encountered this South Indian spice blend in the 17th century and supposedly adopted and helped disseminate it to other parts of the world.
While curry-based dishes are more commonly known as part of Indian cuisine, various Asian nations actually have their own spice mixtures which are also called curries. There are Pakistani, Thai, and Chinese curries for example. In fact, the blend is as varied as the cultures that have it. The recipe can be as simple as to involve only five different spices or be complex enough to use as much as twenty. Curry dishes can vary in color and come in yellow, red or green, depending on the spice ingredients.
Curry powder is the more popular and commercially available form of the spice blend in the Western world. To make production practical, its ingredients are more standardized in comparison to how curry is traditionally prepared in Asia.
We know how one healthy spice or herb can already impart some benefits. Imagine mixing a couple of them in one potent package. This is the essential Superhuman quality of curry.
Here are some benefits and practical uses of curry…
As mentioned, curry can have a varying range of spice and herb ingredients depending on the regional cuisine. For popular curry powder however, we can at least name a few of the most frequently included spices. Here’s what our bodies can gain from each.
Turmeric – The benefits of this spice have been talked about more extensively in the previous post. To summarize, turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory, can strengthen the liver, clean up the blood vessels, and is known to inhibit certain types of cancer.
Coriander – Curry uses the ground seeds of this plant. In alternative medicine, coriander is used to treat anxiety and works as a diuretic. Studies meanwhile have looked into its antibacterial properties. There has also been research on its potential to treat diabetes because its extract acts like insulin.
Cumin – The strong flavor and aroma of its ground seeds significantly contribute to the spicy blend of curry. It is traditionally used to alleviate digestive problems. A study on its essential oil shows cumin to be an effective anti-fungal.
Red pepper – There are several types of pepper (capsicum) but you can generally divide them between the hot ones like cayenne and the mild or moderately spicy ones like bell peppers. Which type is used determines how hot the curry mix is going to be. Most peppers are abundant with Vitamin C. Capsaicin, which is the compound in peppers responsible for the hot sensation, has been found to be useful for pain relief.
Fenugreek – The taste may be bittersweet but its pungent smell adds an appetizing aroma to curry powder. In 2011, an Australian medical study showed how fenugreek extract was effective as an aphrodisiac and raised male libido. Then another study demonstrated how the herb can actually stimulate breast milk production in lactating women.
Curry Practical Uses:
Each of the spices and herbs that can be used to make curry has their own medicinal preparations but the blend itself has no further application beyond the culinary. By including recipes based on the spice blend in our diet, we can nevertheless receive the combined health benefits.
For those who want to do a little experimenting in the kitchen here are a few tips on how to make your own curry powder and curry paste.
- Heat a teaspoon of cooking oil in a pan making sure to set the stove somewhere between medium to low heat.
- Start with stir frying the spices that come in whole seeds like cumin and coriander. When they’re about a golden-brown roasted color add the dried herb leaf ingredients and continue stir frying for a few minutes more.
- Ground the whole mixture afterwards into a smooth powder using a coffee grinder.
- Keep in a clear glass container. This can last to around 3-4 months before aroma and taste starts to fade.
- As with curry powder, stir fry the spices that come in whole seeds to bring out their flavor and aroma.
- Instead of dried herbs or rootstocks, fresh versions of some of the spice ingredients like turmeric, pepper and fenugreek is better.
- Place these along with the stir fried seeds in a food processor.
- Liquid ingredients like coconut milk (used for Thai curry paste) will be necessary to blend all the spices together.
- The resulting paste will have to be refrigerated.
Remember that you can always try various proportions of the spice ingredients and even add more to fit your taste. It’s not uncommon to put in some ginger, garlic, mustard seeds and black pepper in the mix.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how you can use cumin in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use curry, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on how to use curry.