Curry

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 21. May. 2020

Curry consists of several different spices, like pepper, chili, cardamom, pimento, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander and turmeric, which gives it the strong yellow color.

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Curry...

  • ... protects the body cells.
    Every curry spice consists of several different spices. Typical are turmeric, pepper, chili, cardamom, pimento, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and coriander — all spices with many secondary plant substances that have an antioxidant effect. Curry spice can thus protect our cells from free radicals and have anti-aging effects.
  • ... increases fat burning.
    Especially a hot curry spice contains a lot of chili. The capsaicin in it boosts the metabolism and can also temporarily boost fat burning in the body in larger quantities.
  • ... can calm the nerves.
    When stress is present, curry spice can counteract it: The essential oils especially in coriander, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and other ingredients have a relaxing effect on the nerves.
  • ... stimulates the blood circulation.
    If you feel a little chilly or generally have poor blood circulation, you should use curry spice more often. Many ingredients, such as turmeric, pepper and others, promote better blood circulation and increase the feeling of warmth in the body.
  • ... can alleviate colds.
    Both the essential oils and the hot peppers in curry spice can alleviate the symptoms of colds, sore throats and coughs. They promote the blood circulation in the mucous membranes.
  • ... helps digestion.
    Curry spice ingredients typically stimulate intestinal activity and promote the production of digestive juices in liver and gallbladder. Thanks to essential oils and other ingredients, curry spice makes heavy food more digestible and also helps against flatulence.
  • ...has a happy effect.
    The pungency in curry spice causes a pain that causes the body to soothe itself by releasing endorphins, which bring feelings of happiness.
  • ...shouldn't be consumed by mothers if it's hot.
    The usual curry spice contains mainly mild spices and is therefore suitable for pregnant and nursing mothers. But it is better to abstain from hot a hotter version!

What You Should Know About Curry

In India, if you ask for curry, you're refering to a whole dish — not a spice. The so-called spice mixture is instead called Masala. They would also not buy masala ready made — in India almost everyone makes the mix of up to 30 different spices themselves, always composing it a little differently to match the respective dish. Spices that are commonly included are cardamom, pimento, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and coriander. Chili pepper, peppercorns, cumin, mustard seeds and dried ginger root are also often mixed in. Curry owes its strong yellow color to another indispensable ingredient: turmeric.

Buy the unground ingredients in a spice shop or in a health food store because you can be sure the spices are free of unwanted substances. At home, you can grind them before preparing the dish. 

Origin

Curry comes from India and Sri Lanka, where it is called masala and is a mixture of up to 30 spices, sometimes even more.

Season

There is no special season for curry powder; it is available all year round.

Taste

How curry tastes depends on the spices used. It is therefore best to try several varieties before you decide on your favorite mix. 

Here you can find all curry recipes.

How Healthy Is Curry?

Curry is as healthy as the spices used for it, so it has positive effects overall on blood circulation, digestion, healthy liver and bile function. However, experts advise that kidney patients shouldn't prepare their curry too spicy because a high chili content can have unpleasant consequences. In people who are sensitive, the substance capsaicin can also cause swelling in the mouth area.

Nutritional values of curry powder per 100 grams  
Calories 338
Protein 9.9 grams
Fat 8.9 grams
Carbohydrates 49.1 grams
Fibres 9.9 grams

Shopping and Kitchen Tips

Shopping

If you really want to understand the curry craze, don't skimp on shopping. Even packaged curry mixtures — if they offer good quality — cannot be cheap. 

Storage

After opening the packaged curry powder, it quickly loses its taste. To prevent this, it should always be stored in a light-protected container and kept dry. The average shelf life of finished curry mixtures is about one year.

Preparation

If you want to make your own curry mixture, roast whole spice seeds, such as cumin, in a pan without fat until they smell aromatic. Home-made curry spices get a deliciously fresh taste if you add a finely ground citrus peel. Try it with the peel of lime, orange, lemon or kumquat. High quality and guaranteed freedom from harmful substances are important, which is why the dried fruit peel pieces are preferably purchased in organic food stores. Of course, you can also produce them yourself, but this requires some effort: wash organic citrus fruits in hot water, rub dry, peel thinly with a peeler and let them dry in the oven at a maximum of 180 degrees F for a few hours.

What To Make With Curry

Those who find it to be too much effort to make their own curry will stick with ready-made curry and simply give it an additional personal touch, for example with finely ground fruit peels or with fresh, finely chopped herbs like mint, lemon balm or coriander. If you like ginger, simply mix in some finely ground, dried ginger. And if you are a fan of aniseed, add a more or less generous portion to the finished mixture. A poultry dish can tolerate more ginger, while a curry-cinnamon note goes particularly well with desserts. Onions and garlic also harmonise well with ready-made mixtures and in combination with exotic fruits like pineapple or banana.

Whoever dares to experiment here is almost always rewarded with culinary aha-experiences. After all, no other spice mixture in the world offers so much room for creativity as curry. In the worst case, it just tastes different than expected. Cream or coconut milk reliably save a curry dish that is too hot, round off the taste and make it more digestible even for sensitive tongues.

If you don't want to use your private mixture right away, all ingredients must be dried! As a spice mixture, curry gives vegetable, fish and meat dishes, as well as sauces, potato and pasta salads, egg dishes, creamy soups or dips a special touch. Just a pinch or half a teaspoon gives a slightly exotic taste and a beautiful color.

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