If you aren’t very familiar with Indian food, two things may come to mind; 1) unbearable spice, and 2) a possible close encounter with your porcelain thrown. To address the first concern, you can easily customize the level of spice for any of your dishes. All of the curry powders I have bought have been pretty mild. The spice typically comes from adding chili peppers, but if you are sensitive to spicy food, you could definitely be conservative with your use of curry powder in the beginning. As for the second concern, while this has never been an issue for me, as with any new type of cuisine, there is always the risk that it may take your body some time to adjust. No one wants an “Along Came Polly” situation on their hands, so maybe test the waters in the comfort of your own home before diving into the deep end on a date or at a business function : ).
While Indian food has been a favorite of mine for quite a while, I wasn’t as familiar with cooking it as I was with going to our local ‘All You Can Eat Buffet’, and always getting my money’s worth. Once I decided to start cooking more Indian food, I found that it isn’t all that difficult, and that I had been intimidated for nothing. You will need to invest in some new spices. My two favorite blends are Garam Masala, and Madras Curry. You can of course mix your own combinations to create a custom curry, but I have found that these two blends are great go-to’s, without the hassle of making your own spice blend. Madras Curry powder is known to be on the spicy side, so if you don’t tolerate spice, go with a generic yellow curry powder.
Also, as added incentive to eating delicious Indian food, the spice Turmeric, commonly found in Indian cooking, has been proven to improve overall health in a variety of ways. In his book, “How Not to Die”, Dr. Michael Greger explains some of the benefits to consuming Turmeric:
“Since 1987, the National Cancer Institute has tested more than a thousand different compounds for ‘chemopreventive’ (cancer preventing) activity. Only a few dozen have made it to clinical trials, but among the most promising is curcumin, the bright-yellow pigment in turmeric. Chemopreventive agents can be classified into different groups based on which stage of cancer development they help to fight: Carcinogen blockers and antioxidants help prevent the initial triggering DNA mutation, and antiproliferatives work by keeping tumors from growing and spreading. Curcumin is special in that it appears to belong to all three groups, meaning it may potentially help prevent and/or arrest cancer cell growth.”
If you were already a fan of curry- hopefully this will just add another recipe to your repetoire, however, if you are a newby, this is a great recipe to try for the first time.
Now go get your curry on!
Greger, M. Stone, G. 2017. How Not to Die. London. Pan Books. pg 39.
Park W, Amin AR, Chen ZG, Shin DM. New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013;6(5):387-400.
This vegetable curry is easy to make, full of flavor, and makes great leftovers.
- 1 1/2 c. Onions Chopped
- 1 Eggplant Chopped
- 1 Head of Cauliflower Chopped
- 3 Red or Yellow Potatoes Peeled, Diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1 c. Garbanzo Beans
- 28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Jalapeno *Optional Sliced
- 1 Tbsp Hot Madras Curry Powder Can substitute for regular curry Powder if you don't tolerate spice.
- 3 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
- 14 oz. Can Coconut Milk
- 2 Tbsp Cilantro Chopped
- 1 1/2 c. Whole Grain Brown Rice
- 3 c. Water
Heat 3 c. of water over high heat in a medium size pot. Rinse brown rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Once water is boiling, add rice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover for 30-40 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Once all water is absorbed, remove from heat and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Heat large pot or dutch oven to medium heat, add 2 tbsp of water. Add chopped onions and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
Add eggplant, cauliflower, potatoes, and jalapeno. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time if the vegetables begin to stick to the bottom.
Add the crushed tomatoes, garbanzo beans, garam masala, madras curry, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
Once vegetables are fork tender, add coconut milk, stir to combine. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes.
To serve, pour vegetable curry over brown rice, top with fresh cilantro.