Curry is a noteworthy dish from Indian cuisine. According to BBC Food, the word originates from the Tamil word “kari,” which means spiced sauce, and was originally a “thin, soup-like, spiced dressing served in southern India, amongst many other stew-like dressings for meat and vegetables.”1
Today, curry is loved and appreciated around the world, with many countries having their own version of how to cook this dish. Singaporeans, for example, mix curry in their noodles, while the Dutch add it to their ketchup to dip their fries in.2 In the U.S., chicken is a popular ingredient used when cooking curry, as shown in this recipe by Mercola.com employee, Rachel Saenz.
It doesn’t make sense at first to cook spicy food especially in the summer heat. But did you know that it actually may help cool you on a hot day? An article from the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia reports that eating hot food may lower body temperatures by releasing the heat inside your body.3 With that in mind, curry is perhaps one of the tastiest ways to keep yourself cool during this warm season.
Spicy Chicken and Cauliflower Curry
Cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes Prep time: 7 minutes
- 4 pieces organic free-range chicken of your choice (breast, thighs or drumsticks)
- 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 serrano, minced
- 1 tablespoon monk fruit
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- Coat the chicken generously with coconut oil and then sprinkle paprika, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of curry powder all over the chicken.
- Coat the pan with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and lightly brown the chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano to the pan. Cook until the onion softens, about five minutes.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of curry powder and cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
- Add coconut milk and chicken broth, then stir in the monk fruit.
- Add the chicken back to the pot and cook for one hour or until done.
- Add chopped cauliflower and let it cook an additional 10 minutes.
This is the perfect dish for leftovers. The sauce gets very flavorful and thickens when stored in the refrigerator overnight.
Curry Contains a Mixture of Healthy Spices That Can Promote Wellness
Curry powder is a cooking ingredient that is made by blending together various spices, and the amount of each constituent differs depending on who made it, or how much you want (if you make your own homemade curry powder). Furthermore, the spices in curry powder can be added or removed, leading to varying degrees of taste and spiciness. At any rate, curry powder constitutes a combination of these spices:4
Each spice has its own unique set of nutrients that can potentially benefit your health. For example:
- Turmeric: This yellow spice contains the active ingredient curcumin. Studies have shown that it may help manage inflammation, as it can prevent the activation of inflammatory genes.5,6 In other studies, the curcumin found in turmeric can help fight free radicals, thus boosting your antioxidant capabilities.7,8
- Cinnamon: Researchers have discovered that consumption of cinnamon may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, while simultaneously maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.9 Diabetics may benefit from cinnamon as well, as it has been found to help improve insulin resistance.10,11
- Fenugreek: According to a study published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, fenugreek has a hypoglycemic effect. Participants who consumed fenugreek powder were able to lower their blood sugar levels by 13.4 percent four hours after intake.12
- Cardamom: In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, cardamom exhibited chemopreventive results in chemically induced skin cancer in mice subjects. This finding suggests that the spice may have a beneficial application in preventing skin tumor growth in humans.13
- Ginger: The main active compound in ginger is gingerol, which has been found to have effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.14 In one example, participants who consumed 2 grams of ginger for 11 days had reduced muscle pain.15
Use Free-Range Chicken for Healthy Protein Intake
Chicken is a great source of healthy protein, which is essential for maintaining proper biological functions. For example, it can help reduce spikes in your blood glucose levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar.16 Protein can also help maintain muscle mass and boost recovery, which is beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders.17
However, be aware of your protein consumption, as too much of it can have drawbacks to your health. Excessive protein intake can activate your mTOR pathway, which may increase your risk of cancer.
To stay on the safe side, I suggest that your intake should be limited to one-half gram per pound of lean body mass per day. A 1-ounce serving of chicken typically contains 6 to 9 grams of protein, so use this benchmark to compute how much chicken you need to cook for this dish. Don’t forget to choose free-range chicken as well, as it can reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, as well as foodborne illnesses.
Coconut Milk Adds Healthy Fats to Round Out the Dish
A curry dish isn’t complete without coconut milk. This delicious liquid is made by soaking coconut flesh in hot water. From there, the liquid is pushed through a cheesecloth to create the milk, and the process is repeated to create a smoother viscosity. This is generally ideal for curried meats and soups.18
Since coconut milk is made from the flesh, you get all of its healthy nutrients, minus the fiber. Research has shown that coconut can benefit your health in varied ways, such as:
- Promoting healthy cardiovascular system: Various studies have noted that coconuts can benefit your blood circulation, such as lowered LDL cholesterol levels.19,20,21
- Protecting your digestive system: The fat found in coconut milk may help fight stomach ulcers. One study notes that coconut milk reduced the size of ulcers in rats by as much as 54 percent.22
- Fighting microbes: Coconut has been found to be an effective agent against disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including the ones in your mouth.23,24
Add Excitement to Your Meals by Eating Curried Meals
Those who are into spicy dishes will definitely love the taste of this chicken curry recipe. It’s probably one of the healthiest dishes you can eat, as it also contains cauliflower, a vegetable that contains sulforaphane and other compounds. Research has shown that sulforaphane may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.25 In addition the glucosinolate in cauliflower may help reduce the risk of cancer.26 If you haven’t tried curry before, now’s the best time to hop on that train.
Sources and References