Curry: Healthy Mix of Spices for Asian Dishes

Curry powder is a spice mixture made up of many ingredients in different compositions. Curry also stands for Asian dishes with meat, fish, or vegetables in a creamy sauce.

Classic ingredients of curry powder are turmeric – which provides the typical yellow color – chili, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, and black pepper. Cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, mace, or cinnamon can also be added. For the curry mixture, the dried spices are ground or crushed.

The British coined the term curry

Curry is also a Western synonym for many Asian dishes, such as the popular Thai curry. The term has its origins in India, where meat, fish, or vegetables are served with other ingredients and spices in a creamy sauce. Englishmen derived “curry” from the Indian word “Kari” meaning meat or side dish during their colonial rule in the subcontinent. In Asia, the term curry is rarely used for food, and curry powder is also unknown since the spices are used fresh there.

Ready-mixed or fresh from the mortar

Curry powder is commercially available as a ready-mix. Since it quickly loses its aroma, small quantities should always be bought fresh. The strongest and most intense seasoning are curry mixtures that are made from whole, dried spices and ground in a mortar or grinder. Curry powder is only seasoned when other ingredients have already been fried, otherwise, it tastes bitter.

Curry paste for Thai cuisine

In addition to curry powder, there are also curry pastes, which are mainly offered in Asian grocery stores. They are used in Thai cuisine, sweated in oil, often deglazed with coconut milk, and boiled down. Green, red and yellow curry pastes differ significantly in their spiciness. In the green version, green chilies ensure strong heat. The red paste is still hot, the yellow relatively mild. In addition to spices, curry pastes contain shallots and lemongrass, among other things.

Curry contains healthy spices

Curry powder makes meals more digestible, promotes digestion, prevents flatulence and a feeling of fullness, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. The more diverse the spice mixture, the healthier it is. The most important ingredients have this effect:

  • Turmeric is the most important and healthiest ingredient in the curry because the yellow root contains curcumin. The vegetable protein strengthens healthy cells and at the same time weakens degenerated ones.
  • In addition, curcumin has an anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect, helps to cleanse the blood, and regulates metabolism.
  • Coriander seeds relieve, among other things, digestive problems.
  • Mustard seeds are good against viruses and bacteria.
  • Fenugreek lowers blood sugar.
  • Cumin strengthens the immune system and helps with indigestion.
  • Black pepper boosts fat burning. The piperine in pepper is good against bacteria.
  • Chili stimulates blood circulation and supports digestion. The capsaicin in the chili irritates the mucous membranes. To make this pain more bearable, the body releases endorphins – and they make you happy.
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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