Happy Healthy “National Curry Week”

National Curry Week (21st 27th November)

This week, the UK celebrates National Curry Week. Curry, the dish that has travelled continents, today is one of the most consumed global cuisines. It contributes not only to the palette but increasingly to the economy too. As part of National Curry Week, Hanifas Kitchen invites you all to sample some savoury culinary delights which are full of flavour but healthier than you would expect. Is this really possible ? Yes it is ! And who better qualified to tell you this than full time IT consultant and mum of three, Hanifa Hanid. Hanifa explains how Indian food can be both healthy and quick and easy to prepare.

Mistakenly, people think curries are rich, heavy and oily, but they can be the opposite, light and flavoursome. Spices when used correctly and in moderation have countless health benefits which most of us are not aware, for example ginger is great for easing nausea and garlic is great for the heart.

How can Indian food / curries be healthy ? :

1)Eat wholemeal flour rotis or chapattis rather than naan bread made out of white flour
2)Use low fat natural yogurt instead of cream in dishes such as korma
3)Dont deep fry samosas, instead, brush them with olive oil and bake in oven until golden brown
4)Spicy pizza : use wholemeal naan bread as a base and minimum or no cheese
5)Chicken drumsticks : remove the skin and bake in oven rather than deep fry
6)Use brown rice wherever possible for pilaus etc. Brown rice takes longer to cook, but worth the wait.
7)Use very little oil to saut onions. Most recipes book will use butter, ghee, oil in large quantities, a tablespoon should suffice
8)Use fresh wherever possible : ginger, garlic, coriander for best taste and aroma
9)If shallow frying anything, use olive oil and drain thoroughly on kitchen towel paper
10)Remove fat of lamb eg lamb chops

Shortcut tips in preparing curries / Indian food :
1)Use ready-made garlic and ginger paste instead of fresh garlic when pressed for time.
2)Saute onions with garlic, ginger and green chillies and freeze in small food bags to save time preparing curry base
3)Buy tinned tomatoes and liquidise and keep in fridge. This will save time and make for a smoother curry without bits of tomato visible which sometimes can put kids off
4)If making a lamb dish, you can boil the lamb pieces which will save cooking time later
5)Using a mini-chopper to chop / slice onions if this normally takes you time
6)Clean meat by removing any fat and skin before freezing, this will save time when you are about to start cooking.
7)Make spicy potato wedges in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of your favourite spices rather than deep frying.
8)Tandoori chicken can be grilled and makes a healthy snack in some toasted wholemeal pitta bread
9)When making pizza, use low fat cheese instead of the full fat stuff
10)Pasta dishes and spaghetti tastes just as good when using the whole-wheat version

Health Benefits of Indian Spices :
1)Cinnamon : Rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, eases digestion, reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
2)Cumin : Diuretic ie. helps the body shed water, relives diarrhoea and bowel spasms, relieves morning sickness, eases carpel tunnel syndrome.
3)Ginger : Packed with many active compounds, its many proven uses : treats nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, anti-inflammatory properties help ease muscle and joint pain.
4)Turmeric : Often called the King of Spices turmeric is an essential ingredient to the mix of spices known by most of us as curry. Its primary antioxidant, curcumin, is an essential ingredient for liver detox, and is also a natural arthritis treatment for its anti-inflammatory effects.
5)Garlic : Antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal activity. Garlic may also prevent high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer. Garlic may also help to reduce blood sugar levels.
6)Cardamom : Cardamom is effective in improving digestion. Cardamom also helps in cleansing the body.It is beneficial for those suffering from respiratory allergies.
7)Fenugreek : Fenugreek seeds has lots of health benefits. Fenugreek helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and may be an effective treatment for both type 1 and 2 diabetes.
8)Saffron : Treating depression, asthma, atherosclerosis, and painful menstrual periods. There is some evidence that saffron may have anti-cancer effects and may help lower cholesterol.
9)Red Chilli Pepper : Chili pepper is one of the most useful spice. Capsaicinis the component that makes hot chilli hot. Chilies can improve digestion, help ease pain, destroy bacteria, and boost metabolism.
10)Black Pepper : Improves your digestion, reduces intestinal gas and it is an antioxidant.

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