Spicy Benefits

We love to make curry here - and they all usually start in the same way. We typically cook up an onion, some garlic, and a blend of spices to start off a curry. It couldn't be easier! If you're not sure about curry, or have never tried making it before, don't feel overwhelmed! The spices you use are generally not that difficult to find. And to try and tempt you some more, there are plenty of health benefits to a wide variety of your everyday kitchen herbs and spices. But for the sake of this post, I'd like to address some of the more common Indian spices that I used in the recipe found below. And after seeing how beneficial they are, you'll want to grab them and cook up a curry yourself tonight!

Cumin - Not only is it found in most indian dishes, it is also widely used in mexican and middle eastern cooking. In the dish below, the cumin is part of a spice mix called garam masala. Cumin seeds (usually ground up to be used in curries) contain a great amount of iron, which gives you lots of energy and keeps your immune system functioning properly. It also promotes good digestion and has anti-carcinogenic properties. Enough reasons for you to use it?

Coriander - Cilantro is the name for the herby plant that we use to adorn curries in the States, but here in the UK it is called coriander. However, the seeds are called coriander worldwide. And the goodness they bring is outstanding! Coriander is known as the "anti-diabetic" plant because of its ability to lower the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Not only does it pack in tons of phytonutrients, it contains good levels of iron, fiber, magnesium, and manganese.

Mustard seeds - Part of the brassica family of plants, mustard seeds aren't just used to make mustard. As seeds they provide a wonderful flavor to curries. They also benefit our wellbeing because of their phytonutrients, and high levels of selenium and magnesium. All this means is that you're getting protection from nasty inflammatory diseases and cancer.

Turmeric - I've definitely saved the best for last here! The list is endless of the health benefits that come from using turmeric in your cooking. To summarize, here's a brief breakdown of how it can help you: anti-inflammatory, treats IBS, relieves rheumatoid arthritis, prevents cancer, helps cystic fibrosis sufferers, inhibits cancer cell growth, improves liver function, protects the heart, lowers cholesterol, and protects against Alzheimer's. Phew!

With all of that in mind, here's a wonderful and simple dish that uses all of the above spices, some delicious salmon, and a little TLC to create a fragrant, curry-like fish wrap. The recipe comes from a wonderful chef, Anjum Anand.

Keralan Salmon Wraps

Serves 4; recipe by anjum anand via indian food made easy

The particulars:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 curry leaves, crumbled
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 7fl oz water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin removed, flesh cut into 1in cubes
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • handful lettuce, thinly sliced
  1. Heat the oil and mustard seeds in a pan over a medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid and fry the mustard seeds for 20-30 seconds, or until they have stopped popping.
  2. Add the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry for a further 3-4 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown.
  4. Add the spices and stir until the mixture is well combined.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut cream and the water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the ingredients have cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Add the lemon juice and chopped peanuts and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Add the salmon pieces and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, adding water as necessary to prevent the sauce from drying out, until the salmon is cooked through.
  8. To serve, place one of the tortillas onto each serving plate. Arrange a thin line of the lettuce down the center of each tortilla. Spoon over a portion of the salmon mixture and roll each tortilla up tightly into a sausage shape. Cut each wrap in half and serve.