Spicy, not just Hot!
Chili


What makes us all of a sudden a country of Indian food fanatics?
Last week I met up with Kris, and we’d decided on an Indian.

So what made us choose our location? For my part there was a pub I quite liked next door, and with my frazzled nerves that was the ideal opportunity for a decent pint of Stella Artois (just to help relax me of course!).

We got into the restaurant relatively early, and me relatively sober. And what was portrayed as an Indian restaurant of high class suddenly appeared to my sober eyes as a bit of a dump.
Then came the choice of what to eat; my appetite wasn’t exactly driving me to eat a horse, so I wasn’t too fussy and chose the same as Kris.

It was nice, but my taste buds were not alcoholically numbed. Kris, being the perfect Gent expressed mutual delight in the occasion.
Fortunately the company I was in was more important, and more than compensated.

So what should we be focusing on?
Well, those who know my pathetically amateurish culinary status (having viewed my recipe for Beef Curry) will agree that I need to look a bit more deeply into the subject.


Spices

Not just for cooking, but also medicinal.


TumericFor those who laugh at my choice of sprinkling Turmeric over my beans may like to know it calms the digestive system and can help to reduce gas and bloating.
Extracts have been used for such ailments as hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice (did I say cirrhosis — better buy a few ton!)

 

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Similarly Cardamom is an excellent digestive aid helping to ease indigestion, and flatulence.

FenugreekFenugreek (just love the smell) is useful for easing inflammatory conditions of the stomach.

 

GingerGinger is credited with stimulating blood circulation. If you’ve got a cold coming on it’s pretty useful in helping recovery; and helps reduce rheumatic aches and pains.
Did you know that chillies provide three times more vitamin C than oranges?

But let’s get down to business — Food.

My good friend Bill — the Main Man/Editor — informed me recently that spices rapidly lose there flavour; so that’s a couple of pounds of my 2 year old collection down the drain!!

Buy a little often is the trick.

What’s always annoyed me is that no one seems able to say what spice does what.
You know, they always act very clever and say, ‘Try them out for yourself, and see which is you favourite’. Oh great! After you’ve chucked half ton of cayenne pepper into your stew!

I read:
Spices can be divided into those that are sweet and those that are robust:
Sweet: cardamom, coriander, star anise (? Exactly my thought), fennel, and caraway.
Strong: cinnamon, cloves, and cumin.

So, that’s a start.

Based around those pointers I’ve decided to knock together some recipes that seem to rely more on taste, than just Hot!

Look out Kris, forget the Indian Restaurant, I’m cooking next time!!