You don’t have to be daunted by curries, this recipe is simple to make and delivers a winning result without the fuss. In India, it is not uncommon to eat curry for breakfast. While this isn’t everyone’s cup of chai, knowledge of the disease fighting power of this scrumptious concoction may have you re-thinking your reluctance. Alongside the health benefits, the experience of cooking this curry is a joy in itself. When the spices hit the pan be prepared to be whisked off into a sensory experience of kaleidoscopic aromas and flavours. Ahhhhhh. I want my curry, and I want it in a hurry!
The beauty of this delectable dish lies in the diversity of ingredients, delivering a vast array of natural medicines and disease busting qualities that your body will be ever so thankful for. One of my favourite foods, garlic is an amazing super food containing active compound allicin. This compound is known to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties to keep your immune system in tip-top health. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which in the body is converted into monolaurin, a monoglyceride compound that has been found to increase metabolism and improve the condition of skin and hair. Monolaurin also disrupts the lipid membranes in organisms such as fungus, viruses and bacteria and helps to keep gut flora healthy. Two great reasons why this curry should be enjoyed not only for the taste but also its amazing health benefits.
Another is that it contains turnips, a member of the cruciferous family, alongside kale, collards, broccoli and cabbage and it’s no big surprise that this ingredient is a secret weapon in the nutritional department. Turnips are high in vitamins A and C; antioxidants that together play an important role in stimulating the body’s immune response by boosting the formation of antibodies and white blood cells. Vitamin A also maintains epithelial cells, which are responsible for keeping body surfaces healthy so that they can act as barriers to infection. The world needs more turnips and there are so many great ways to enjoy them, as crunchy fries, hearty mash, in curries, stir fries and casseroles.
If you’re looking for more reasons to eat curry for breakfast, studies have revealed that India has four times less the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease than their American counterparts. The saviour is believed to be turmeric, a spice consumed daily throughout India. The active ingredient curcumin contains potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties linked to the prevention of degenerative disease. It has been reported to have great benefits in people with auto-immune diseases as it lowers inflammation levels.
Coriander is high in flavanoid antioxidants and dietary fibre that together work to protect colon mucous membranes from cancers. Studies have also shown that coriander has significant anti-inflammatory effects, and protects the body from nervous system disorders. Using freshly ground and sprinkling fresh coriander onto dishes doubles its effectiveness. If you’re using ground spices they do go off quickly so it’s best to purchase small quantities at a time and store them in airtight containers.
Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and adds an aromatic, spicy quality to dishes. It is also used in sweets and plays a role similar to that of cinnamon. Did you know that cardamom in an excellent source of manganese, with just one tbsp supplying around 80% of your daily value? Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, a powerful free radical scavenger, protecting the body’s cells from oxidative stress and also repairing them.
Chicken, turnip, and cashew nut red curry is a wonderful dish if you’re looking for an injection of health boosting nutrients and an exotic culinary adventure. You can add your own ingredients to your taste too, once you have created the sauce base use your favourite ingredients to create differing flavours. By adding tomatoes, red peppers, ginger or lime you can zest it up to your liking. Experiment and see what you can come up with.
Chicken, Turnip and Cashew Red Curry
- 4 chicken thighs
- 3 round turnips cubed
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 TBS coconut oil plus extra
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk
- 1 brown onion – thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic sliced
- 2 TBS whole cumin seeds
- 1 level TBS red curry paste (no additives) I use Thai Gourmet Red Curry Paste
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Handful of fresh coriander
- Freshly cracked pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat coconut oil on medium heat
- Add garlic and onions and sauté until browned
- Add more coconut oil if necessary and add spices and red curry paste
- Mix then add chicken, browning on both sides
- Once browned add coconut milk, cashews and turnip bring to the boil
- Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for about 30 minutes
- Just before serving dress with fresh coriander