- Food and Cooking
Squash, Chickpea and Coconut Curry Recipe
Curry dishes originate in South and Southeastern Asia cuisine that is enjoyed today across the world. Dishes may incorporate meat, seafood or a variety of vegetables to make a vegetarian or vegan curry. Curry recipes may be wet using sauces of stock, yogurt and coconut milk, or may use very little liquid to create a dry curry. Seasonings used in curry typically include turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and coriander, but these and additional spiced added vary depending upon the region the curry is made. Commercially prepared curry powder, which combines a mix of these spices, originated in the Western world during the 18th century.
The combination of healthy spices found in curry recipes can be found in a curry powder blend, making recipe preparation easy. The full list of spices included in curry powder vary from brand to brand. The McCormick brand of curry powder, for instance, lists the following ingredients in its spice blend: coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, celery seed, nutmeg, cloves, onion, red pepper, and ginger. Most recipes require a generous amount of the spice so buying curry powder in bulk can be much less expensive.
One of the healthiest spices in this curry mix is turmeric and its phytonutrient curcumin. Read on to see how this spice, which gives curry powder its beautiful yellow-hue, provides a wealth of health benefits.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Turmeric and Curcumin
This brightly-hued spice stars prominently in any curry powder mix. Historically, turmeric has been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory agent in Asian cultures for many years. The true star of this spice comes from the bright yellow pigment that gives turmeric its color, called curcumin. This phytonutrient contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Numerous studies have shown curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects to be comparable to prescription drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as Motrin.1 Here are just a few diseases and conditions that studies have shown turmeric and curcumin improve or help to prevent.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers found curcumin to be an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease in studies, even in smaller amounts that could be consumed by including curries in one's diet.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies of patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed comparable improvements in morning stiffness and joint swelling between curcumin and the prescription drug phenylbutazone.
Studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric may have cholesterol lowering effects by helping the liver clear more LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body.
- Alzheimer's Disease
Turmeric is a common spice in the Indian diet where levels of Alzheimer's disease are very low, according to epidemiological studies. For existing Alzheimer's patients, studies have shown that an active component found in this spice, bisdemethoxycurcumin, may help clear amyloid beta plaques that are characteristic of this disease.
The frequent use of turmeric has been associated with lower rates of colon, lung, breast and prostate cancers in epidemiological studies. Studies in the lab have showed that the curcumin in turmeric can prevent tumor formation and inhibit existing cancer from spreading.
Bulk Curry Powder
This recipe calls for 3 to 4 tablespoons of curry powder, which could leave a new and pricey spice bottle half empty. You can save money by purchasing curry powder in bulk. Be sure to look for a reputable organic product. I recommend this Frontier product that can be purchased through Amazon.
Bulk Dried Beans
Dried beans are much less expensive to use than canned beans, and the result can often be much tastier in recipes. Slow cooking foods makes using dried beans very easy since there is no soaking and cooking the beans in advance. It can be challenging to find organic dried beans at grocery stores, especially chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Amazon offers quality organic beans like these pictured here that can be purchased in various quantities.
Squash, Chickpea & Coconut Curry Recipe
Serve this meatless curry over basmati rice with whole grain naan bread on the side. It stores well for a few days in the refrigerator and can easily be used for a quick lunch.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups organic dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and sorted
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups light organic coconut milk
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 to 4 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 bunch fresh spinach or kale, rinsed and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups fresh shelled peas, frozen may be used
- chopped cilantro
- Add all prepared ingredients through turmeric spice to a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours.
- Add chopped spinach and peas during last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Serve over basmati or brown rice and top with chopped cilantro.
|Serving size: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat||18|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 2 g||3%|
|Carbohydrates 39 g||13%|
|Fiber 7 g||28%|
|Protein 7 g||14%|
|Sodium 112 mg||5%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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1 "Turmeric." The World's Healthiest Foods. The George Mateljan Foundation, 2015. Web. 09 Apr. 2015. <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78>.
"Curry." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Apr. 2015. Web. 09 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curry>.