Friday, August 8, 2008

Eating Your Way to Health: Curry

姜黃 Jiang Huang, commonly known as turmeric, is not only an herb known in Chinese Medicine to increase blood circulation and reduce pain, it is also a delicious spice used in many curries of South and Southeast Asia. Jiang Huang translates as "yellow ginger," but is not a ginger at all; it is part of the family of curcumin, which give curries containing turmeric its yellow color.

Jiang Huang has been shown to have anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid, and anti-inflammatory properties. There have been studies conducted that it can block the development of melanoma and other cancers by blocking the biological pathway necessary for development, and had stopped laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating, promoting cell death.

One of the most recent studies, presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in 2008, shows that Jiang Huang significantly reduces inflammation in both fat tissue and the liver. The researchers speculate that it lessens insulin resistance and prevents Type 2 diabetes by dampening the inflammatory response provoked by obesity.

Jiang Huang has been known in Chinese medicine to affect the Spleen and the Liver systems, and reduce pain and inflammation. The Spleen plays a fundamental role in transforming the foods we eat into utilizable parts, and then transporting them to the parts of the body that need them. The Liver is in charge of the free flow of qi in the body, ensuring that all the materials we consume and make get put into good use. If both the Liver and the Spleen are working in harmony, the body will not develop such pathologies as Xiao Ke, a disease condition in Chinese Internal Medicine that is comparable to Diabetes.

The researchers at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center gave turmeric to fat mice and showed statistically that they were less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. You can feed yourself some delicious yellow curry whether or not you have Type 2 Diabetes, and know that you are eating your way to health with Chinese herbs!

Here's a delicious recipe you can try! It's a Vietnamese version of yellow curry, usually eaten with a nice loaf of fresh baguette bread:

3 Tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
1 pound of chicken pieces or tofu
1 Tablespoon raw sugar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass (not necessary if you can't find it), chopped
2 teaspoons of chili paste or chili flakes
2 medium sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed
3 Tablespoons fish sauce (you can try Bragg's or soy sauce mixed with a lime if you can't find it)
2.5 cups of coconut milk
small bunch of basil and cilantro, stalks removed

Mix the curry powder and turmeric in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, coat the chicken or tofu with half of the spices. (If using tofu, add just a dash of vegetable oil to coat).

Caramalize the sugar in a small pan with about 2 teaspoons of water until the sugar dissolves and turns golden.

In a wok or pan, add a little oil and stir fry the shallots, garlic, ginger, and lemon grass. Stir in the rest of the spices with the chili paste (or flakes). Add the chicken and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, fish sauce, caramel sauce, and coconut milk. Also add about 2/3 cup of water and mix well.

Bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes fall off the fork when poked. Stir in half of the basil and coriander, and use the rest of it as garnish when you're ready to serve and eat!

No comments: