Spices to ignite your digestive fire & warm you to the bones.18th June 2018
Australian winters may be considered downright tropical next to the blizzards of Europe, but our bodies still crave warmth & nourishment – even if we’re only briefly forced to abandon thongs & singlets (or better yet, don socks and soldier on). Our food choices should mirror this motion towards heat, light & digestive fire, favouring wonderfully spiced warming foods to keep our engines alight.
How do we incorporate warmth into our dishes? By simply adding stimulating spices of course!
Here is a brief guide to some of our favourites, with therapeutic actions & cooking methods included.
Mustard seeds add warmth and heat to a dish. Gently toast black or yellow seeds in a dry pan with some Ovvio Organic Indian Herb and Spice Blend. Add ghee, onions, meat and vegetables for a simple but delicious curry. Also take a look at the recipe for Black Mustard Seed Lemon Rice. Therapeutically, its stimulating, diaphoretic action can also be utilised for fevers, colds and flu.
Cumin seeds encapsulate the taste of India. Use them in curries with fenugreek and turmeric or Mexican food, as found in our Mexican Herb & Spice blend with chilli and oregano. Therapeutically, soothes the digestion like many aromatic warming spices.
Fenugreek seeds have a distinctive curry flavour, and are often paired with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Therapeutically warming and indicated to encourage milk flow in breast-feeding mothers as well as regulate blood sugar levels. It is a nutritive and indicated for loss of appetite.
Ginger root adds warmth, spice and sweetness. It is often used in Oriental and Indian-style cooking, and is delicious with pork or duck. Therapeutically indicated for nausea and digestive upsets and to warm a cold constitution. Like chilli, it stimulates the metabolism.
Cayenne pepper powder is a ground chilli pepper that adds heat to dishes. Therapeutically acts as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. Chilli flakes add a bite of heat to dishes – sprinkle with salt flakes and cracked pepper just before serving a meal. Therapeutically acts as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. Peppercorns are readily available in both black and white. Therapeutically acts as a digestive tonic like many aromatic warming spices.
To get you started, I thought I’d share one of my favourite quick & easy recipes from my book I am Food, Indian Spiced Chicken with Spinach.
Cook a whole meal in one pan. So simple, quick and delicious! These dishes are best made in a heavy cast iron or stainless steel pan with a lid.
6 chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 onion, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 garlic clove, sliced or crushed
1 cup of spinach leaves
1 tsp of ground OVVIO Organic Indian Herb and Spice Blend
2 tbsp ghee or butter
cup homemade chicken stock
Heat olive oil and butter on medium heat in pan. Stir in onion and garlic and cook with lid on until transparent for five minutes. Add carrots and celery and put lid on again for another 5 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Add chicken strips and stir for a few minutes, add stock and season with salt and Indian spices and put lid on. Turn heat to low and cook for another 20 minutes. Add water if it dries out. Add spinach leaves and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid on. Serve with a cooling Minty cucumber yoghurt dip.