Eating spicy food for us is a pleasure we could indulge in every day, there are so many rich and wonderful spices to choose from and an infinity of combinations to enjoy. For us the pleasure is not just in the eating but in the preparation too since each spice added to the pan has it’s own unique smell and with each addition the smell and eventually the taste builds.
Now I know not everyone has the confidence to use the individual spices and for them there are some very good ready mixed combinations of the dry spices or ready roasted ones in jars on the supermarket shelves – indeed if we are pushed for time with the aid of these ready mixes a very good curry can be whipped up in no time. However for us part of the joy of cooking is lost by this fast method.
A way into developing confidence in experimenting with different flavours is to use a proprietary brand and then add to it yourself – this works especially well with the powdered mixes. I like adding additional spices such as ground coriander, ground cinnamon or whole cloves as examples. None of these will add heat to the final result, but will add depth. Also not to be forgotten is the addition of Garam Masala at the end of the cooking, this really rounds out the dish and no one spice is highlighted above another.
I could not write about spices without mentioning the health benefits, and there are many. Chillies for example grow freely here – in our garden we have several bushes of them producing a regular supply of tiny explosively hot fruits and they are used by the locals for medicinal purposes. One elderly friend consumes a dozen a day and is exceptionally fit and active.
Some benefits of including chillies in the diet:
- lower blood sugar levels
- improved heart health
- boost to circulation
- blood thinning, thus helping to prevent strokes
- reduced inflammation
- migraine relief
These are just some of the benefits claimed by chilli consumers more can be found here