If you ever travel to India and farther eastward and down, there is a culinary tradition that is hard to miss. It revolves around one of the most potent food herbs on the planet – turmeric – and is the epitome of Hippocrates’ famous statement “let food be thy medicine.”
I’m talking about the ancient art of curry.
This time-honored dish has actually formed its own category of food in many parts of the world, and you will find that the flavors and combinations differ deliciously from India to Thailand to Malaysia. But the core ingredients are always the same, and the end result packs a tasty wallop of wellness.
Curry is a mouth-watering marvel of early medicine. Somehow, the early inhabitants of South and Far East Asia knew that turmeric’s mighty anti-inflammatory compound curcumin could only be fully activated by heating the herb in a fat and combining it with the compound piperine (found in pepper).
When you throw in some nutritious vegetables and ladle it over a well-sourced basmati rice… magic happens.
Below, I’ve shared a scrumptious veggie curry recipe that will thrill your taste buds, comfort your mind and nourish your body.
IMPORTANT: there are MANY different ways to make a curry. The recipe below is a hybrid creation that a chef friend shared with me – it’s become a favorite in our house. The dish combines elements of India, Thailand and Malaysia – and has some added herbs for extra flavor and health benefits.
Revitalizing & Herb-Packed Green Curry
2 teaspoons Coconut Oil
1 can (14 oz) Coconut Milk
½ teaspoon Cumin Seed
2 cloves Garlic – minced
2 tablespoons Fresh Ginger – minced
1 teaspoon Garam Masala (you can find this online or in a health food store)
2 tablespoons Thai Green Chili Paste (you can find this in most grocery stores)
2 teaspoons Fresh Turmeric – finely chopped
1 Yellow Onion – chopped
2 Red Peppers – sliced
1 Large Eggplant – sliced into ½ inch cubes
2 cups Spinach – chopped
3 Medium Carrots – sliced
½ cup Basil – fresh leaves
Soy Sauce or Sea Salt
- In a large skillet or pan, add coconut oil and cumin seeds. Cook on medium heat until the seeds are lightly toasted.
- Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned.
- Add the red onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add the fresh turmeric, garam masala and salt. Cook for 5 minutes
- Add all vegetables (except for spinach) and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the Thai green chili paste, coconut milk and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 15 minutes – or until veggies are tender.
- Add spinach and, depending on how thick you’d like the sauce , add a touch more water to reach desired consistency. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add Soy Sauce or Sea Salt to taste.
- Serve over basmati rice (quinoa is a nutritious alternative, if you’d prefer.)
- Top each bowl with fresh basil leaves.
While you are making the above recipe, it’s fun to meditate on the fact that you are carrying forward one of the most medicinal culinary traditions the world has ever known!
Host of Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness
& Founder of The Sacred Science