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A spicy introduction to Indian Food with Herbs.

Herbs and spices have been used to treat diseases and ailments for thousands of years. There is now much renewed interest in these altenative medicines, with many new medicinal uses coming to light. For the purpose of this article, both spices and herbs will be referred to as herbal remedies.Both herbs and spices are excellent antioxidants, which work to neutralize attacks made by free radicals against the body.

CUMIN SEED (Cuminum cyminum)Was used in medicine, and as a food preservative. It is popular in Mexican dishes, is a main ingredient in chili dishes, and also found in many curries. GARLIC Garlic is one of the best-known and widely used herbal medicines. Garlic is a strong weapon against infection and a natural antibiotic. It has been found to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and is sometimes used to treat yeast infections. GINGER Ginger has many medicinal uses. It is a very effective treatment for motion sicknesss and general nausea. It is also use to treat menstrual cramps and the nausea associated with chemotherapy CLOVES Cloves act as a wound antiseptic by killing harmful bacteria. It is also used to treat indigestion and diarrhea. Cloves also acts as a deterrent to free-radical damage to the body. TURMERIC This spice has been used to treat arthritis, dysentery and heart disease. It is also believed to lower the risk for certain cancers by attacking free radicals. CAYENNE (RED PEPPER) Cayenne may be taken or used topically. It contains capsaicin, a substance which is also used as an active ingredient in many commercial pain medications. Cayenne also aids in digestion. SAFFRON Studies have shown saffron to be instrumental in destroying the cancer cells that cause leukemia. CURCUMIN Curcumin is being studied as a treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Its found in turmeric.

RECIPES of the week:

1 big Cauliflower chopped
2 tomatoes sliced
1/2 tspn cumin powder
1/2 tspn turmeric
1/2 tspn chilli powder
1 tspn iodized salt
2 tblspn chopped cilantro
3 tblspn olive oil
Wash the cauliflower, throw outer edges and cut into 1" flowerets. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add salt and turmeric. Add chopped cauliflower and stir fry on high heat for 5 minutes.Turn heat to low and cook in covered pan for 15-20 minutes or till cauliflower is soft. Add sliced tomatoes and cilantro, and cook on high heat for 5 more minutes. Add cumin powder and chilli powder and stir. Take it off the heat and serve.

1 lb okra
2 large onions(sliced)
1 tspn salt(iodized)
3 tblspn olive oil
1/2 tspn paprika
1/2 tspn cumin powder
1/2 tspn mango powder(or pomgrenade powder)
3 tspn chopped cilantro
Wash Okra, dry with paper towel to avoid stickiness. Trim the ends. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add onions and okra and stir fry on high heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low and add salt. Cook for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally till okra is softly cooked. Add paprika, cumin powder and mango powder.Stir it on high heat for 3-4 minutes.Take it off the stove and add the cilantro and serve while hot.

1 1/2 lbs spinach
1/2 cup yellow split peas
2 medium-size onions(chopped)
2 tspn curry powder
1 tspn turmeric
2 tspn butter
1 cup water
1 tspn salt
In a deep saucepan boil the split peas,turmeric and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the spinach. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Saute the onions in butter till golden brown. Add the curry powder(garam masala), then add the spinach and peas. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the liquid absorbed.

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