Monday, October 11, 2010

The Spice of Life

I have always loved curries. Just a whiff of the spices lifts my energy level. During my weekly Sunday morning swim, the aroma of Indian curry spices wafting through the air from the Indian restaurant next door gives me an unexplicable happy feel. No wonder past European powers had to risk the high seas in search of those wonderful spices. Different Indian states have their own signature curries while the Thais have their own versions of red yellow and green curries. At the local wet markets in Singapore, Indian curry spice stalls serve up wet mixtures of curry paste, freshly blended to suit meat or fish dishes. These wet curry mixtures consist of ginger, garlic, tumeric, onion, dry chillies and other spices. As for dry curry spices, I prefer to buy them ungrounded and only when needed, pan fried over the stove fire without any oil till it is fragrant. Then remove from the fire and proceed to pound with a mortar and pestle to release even more aroma. Some of these curry spices include cumin, coriander seeds, fenugreek, fennel seeds, black mustard seeds and cardamon. I like to fry the wet curry mix before adding in some of the freshly pounded spices. All this before adding in the coconut milk. Curries are a hot favourite in many Asian countries and what's more, curry spices are known to cure a number of ailments. For example, tumeric has been found to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Life will be bland without the occasional spicy curry !

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