Monday, October 25, 2010

Indian Food III - Ginger

Ginger is well known for its incredible benefits to our digestive system. Ginger can help digest fatty foods and break down proteins. Its anti spasmodic properties help with the reduction of gas and bloating. It can relieve nausea, morning sickness and motion sickness.

Ginger can also help reduce inflammation and can be used to treat diseases caused by inflammations such as arthritis or ulcerative colitis.

Ginger is a warming herb and can help with both lowering and raising the body temperature. This property also makes it effective in stimulating circulation of the blood. It can help relax muscles around the blood vessels and is said to help prevent blood clots from forming. The warming effects make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds.

Gingers healing properties come from its volatile oils, gingerols and shogaols. These oils cause the production of digestive enzymes which helps with the whole digestion process and neutralizes the acids that can cause nausea, cramps and even diarrhea.

Ginger is available in a supplement form, but is really great when used fresh. Fresh ginger is used to enhance many culinary dishes and cuisines. Drinks, salads, soups, bean dishes, fish, chicken, meat and even desserts.

Many people start their morning with fresh ginger/lemon tea. Pour boiling water over a few thin slices of ginger (I use a peeler for this). Squeeze ½ a lemon and sweeten with creamy honey. It’s a comforting way to start the day. This tea is my first response for any kind of abdominal pain.

Ginger is used in almost every Indian dish. This split pea dahl is one of my all-time favorites in the Indian food way. Dahl is generally served over basmati rice or with naan.
Yellow Split Pea Dahl 
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 dried chili peppers - leave whole
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro - garnish

 Place the split peas & 3 cups of water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 30-40 minutes until the split peas are tender and most of the water has been absorbed. Saute the onion & turmeric in olive oil for 5-6 minutes. Add the ginger, mustard seeds, cumin, garlic and jalapeno, and saute for a minute while stirring constantly. Add the tomato and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the vegetables to the cooked split peas and slightly mash with the back of a spoon. Add 1 cup water and dried chilis and cook for a few minutes to blend the ingredients. Salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro.

To good health,
Chana

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