Healthy Winter Fats and Spices

There’s more to the combination of turmeric, coconut or sesame oil that meets the eye. Cooking a warming winter stew or curry with turmeric and healthy fats like coconut oil or sesame helps to ward off colds and flu and may reduce the severity of bacterial and viral infections. Turmeric also stimulates the gallbladder and produces bile which helps to digests fats. Using healthy winter fats and spices like sesame and coconut oil along with turmeric are a good combination to reduce the symptoms of digestive upsets.

Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream so it’s a good idea to add black pepper which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. It is also fat-soluble so best to have your turmeric laced foods with a fatty meal like coconut oil or cream.

Fats and Oils

Coconut oil has many benefits which can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid which converts into monolaurin and helpful in dealing with viruses and bacteria. Capric acid and caprylic acid and their amazing properties act as an antioxidant and are anti-fungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial. It is one of the best saturated fats (don’t panic!), which our bodies need, as well as other fatty acids.

Unroasted Sesame oil, otherwise known as the “Queen of Oils” has been used as a healing oil for thousands of years. It is antibacterial for common skin pathogens as well as antiviral, a natural anti-inflammatory agent and in the tissue beneath the skin it will neutralize oxygen radicals.
Sesame oil also helps to control skin eruptions and neutralize the poisons that develop both on the surface and in the pores.

Chicken Curry: Healthy Winter Fats and Spices in Cooking

All ingredients should be Organic whenever possible

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2.5 cm. pieces
  • 
2 Tablespoons coconut or unroasted sesame oil
  • 
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 
10 curry leaves
  • 
2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-tablespoon ground coriander
  • 
½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1-teaspoon cumin
  • 
2 teaspoon paprika
  • 
2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
  • 
2 tablespoons apple cider or balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to taste
  • 
1/2 cup pasta sauce or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 
6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 
1 stick cinnamon
  • 
1 stalk lemon grass
  • 
1 pandan leaf (optional)
  • 
1 cup coconut cream

Method

  1. Heat oil and fry fenugreek and curry leaves until they start to brown.
  2. Add onions garlic and ginger and fry gently until onions are quite soft and transparent.
  3. 

Add turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin, fennel, paprika, salt and vinegar and stir well.
  4. Add pasta sauce, whole spices and lemon grass.
  5. 

Add chicken and stir over medium heat until chicken is thoroughly coated with spices.
  6. Cook, covered, over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes.
  7. 

Add coconut cream, taste and add more salt and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired. 

Do not cover after adding coconut cream.
  8. 

Serve with quinoa or rice and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.

Vegetarian Curry: Healthy Winter Fats and Spices in Vegetarian Cooking

All ingredients should be Organic whenever possible

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons unroasted sesame oil or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 5 cm (2 inch) piece of ginger, grated
  • 6 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups squash, unpeeled, in 2.5 cm (1 inch) slices, or butternut pumpkin, peeled, in 2.5 cm. cubes
  • 1 cup parsnips in 2.5 cm (1 inch) slices or chunks
  • 475 grams tiny potatoes halved
  • 2 cups small florets of cauliflower
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, preferably home-cooked and the liquid reserved
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice (optional)

Method

  1. Heat pot over a medium heat. Add oil. When oil is warm add cumin and coriander seeds and let sizzle for about 1 minute.
  2. Add turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic and stir to coat.
  3. Add onion and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly coloured, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste and stir to coat.
  6. Add squash, parsnips and potatoes, salt lightly, then add 3 cups chickpeas cooking liquid or water, or enough to just cover vegetables.
  7. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer.
  8. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
  9. Add cauliflower and chickpeas and stir gently to combine.
  10. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender.
  11. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  12. Transfer to a wide, deep serving platter or bowl.
  13. Garnish with coriander sprigs.
  14. Serve with steamed basmati rice.