Cardamom, known as the queen of all spices, is among the most expensive spices in the world and is used for both medicinal and cooking purposes. This spice is native to India and has been cultivated in India for over 5000 years. There two types of cardamom known to man, one type consists of green seed pods and the other consists of dark brown seed pods. The use of the spice for medicinal purposes has been mentioned in Vedic texts and ancient in Aryuvedic scripture.
Many of us use cardamoms as a spice while being totally unaware of its medicinal purposes. It is a natural remedy for lung congestion, digestive disorder, gum and tooth infection and throat problems. Out both of types of cardamoms, the green cardamoms are more commonly used for medicinal purposes throughout the entire world.
Digestive Disorders: cardamom is beneficial in relieving a person from some of the most common digestive disorders: heartburn, bloating, acidity, constipation and indigestion. It can also be a remedy to improve one’s appetite, and to relieve a person from the pains of stomach infection. It is said that cardamom is the best remedy to rid stomach and mouth ulcers.
Kidney Health: Cardamom is a spice that is useful to keep the kidneys clean and healthy. This is because it promotes urination and lowers a person’s blood pressure. Cardamom also keeps kidneys healthy by removing toxins such as excess Urine and Calcium.
Oral Health: Cardamom is a spice that contains antibacterial properties. Therefore, other than fighting gum disease, it is also effective combating bad breath caused by bacteria. They are used in the manufacture of toothpaste and play a significant role in combating bad breath.
For all your spice needs please visit the Mc Currie website.
Athirasa is a sweetmeat that is synonymous with the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrated in Sri Lanka in April each year. It is also a “relative” of the Kavum, another sweetmeat that adorns the tables during the said New Year.
It is also prepared in Southern India and a famous sweetmeat during Diwali.
Recipe for Athirasa
500 g Rice flour
500 g Sugar
1 tsp Mc Currie Cloves and Cardamoms (Ground together)
500 g Jaggery
100 g Thala seeds
Salt to taste
3 cups of water
Oil for frying
In a thick bottom pan add grated jaggery, sugar and 1 copy of water. Place on the fire and keep stirring until the jaggery is dissolved. Take off the fire. Add the rice flour, spices and thala seeds to the jaggery mixture a stir well until the flour and spices are well distributed. Pour into a dish and leave to cool.
Add 2 cups of water to the pan that was used to make the mixture and keep on the fire. Keep stirring to form porridge like consistency. Add this porridge mixture to the prepared mixture left to cool and mix well. (Do not make it watery, but just right in thickness to form into small balls). Form into small balls, press lightly and deep fry in hot oil.
Chicken Khorma, a curry made with thick white gravy or sauce, is an Indian delicacy. It was introduced into Indian cuisine by the Moghuls. The gravy is made out of yogurt and spices, and occasionally topped with cream. The presence of cashew nuts and almonds, give the curry a touch of richness. Below is the recipe for Chicken Khorma.
Chicken (2 lbs)
1 1/2 oz. cashews
1 sprig coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/2″ Mc Currie cinnamon
2 oz. Onion
2 Mc Currie cloves
1-2 tspn lime juice
1 oz. grated coconut
1 table spn. Mc Currie Coriander powder
1 tspn Mc Currie curry powder or masala powder
2 green chillies
2 tspn red Mc Currie chilli powder
3 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
a thin slice of ginger
2 Mc Currie cardamoms
2 tbspn oil
Cut the meat into cubes, wash and dry. Grind the coconut, green chillies, ginger, garlic and cashews to a fine. Add to meet with the curd and salt and soak for 15-20 minutes.
Chop onions and tomatoes. Heat oil in a pan till very hot and fry the onions till golden brown. Then add the spices, coriander leaves, curry powder or masala powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Stir for a while and then add the meat mixture and keep tossing till brown. After a while add the chopped tomatoes and simmer till chicken is tender. Add lime juice before taking off.
Spinach is a vegetable that is commonly eaten in our daily lives, but do you know that it has many health benefits. Many of us in our early thirties grew up watching the cartoon Popeye, which portrayed the main character eating spinach and beating up the bad guy. Watching this cartoon I grew up to think that spinach made a man strong, in all actuality it made a person healthy.
Helps Prevent Cancer
Spinach has an abundant supply of flavanoids, which are phytonutrients known to fight cancer. Studies have shown that flavanoids slow cell division, thereby slowing the growth rate of cancer cells. According to research, an intake of flavoniods would reduce the risk of lung cancer by 50%, and reverses the effects of aging.
Two known anti inflammatory expoxy xanthophylls which play an important role in regulation of inflammation are Neoxanthin and Violaxanthin. Research has shown that these elements, even though present in small quantities in spinach, prevent body inflammation. .
Spinach contains vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, which are anti oxidants. These powerful anti oxidants have been proven to fight osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and infections.
It is proven by researchers that a boiled cup of spinach contains over 337% of the RDA of vitamin A that protects and strengthens “entry points” into the human body (Mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts). Vitamin A is also an essential component that strengthens white blood cells (Lymphocytes) to fight infections.
For all your spice needs please visit the Mc Currie website
Spinach and potato stir-fry is a very common dish among the Sri Lankan population. It is commonly eaten during lunch and dinner times and accompanied with rice and other vegetarian dishes; pol sambol and dhal. Some communities in Sri Lanka eat spinach and potato stir-fry with meat dishes such as fish and beef. Given below is the recipe.
1 bunch Spinach (Nivithi)
1 large potato (peeled and cut into equal sizes)
1 clove garlic
2 tspn crushed dried Mc Currie red chillies
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 green chilli chopped
Cooking oil for stir fry
Salt to taste
Chop the spinach into large pieces and set aside. Heat cooking oil in a pan and add potatoes seasoned with salt. Stir fry until potatoes become golden brown in colour. Add the chopped spinach and the remaining ingredients into the pan and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from stove.
For all your spice needs please refer to the Mc Currie website.
There many differences between the food consumption in the west and in the east. One of the differences is in the way vegetables are consumed. In Sri Lanka and the rest of South Asia, vegetables are commonly consumed in the form of vegetable curries, where as in America and the west they are consumed in the form of salads. Unlike vegetable curries, preparing a salad is less time consuming than preparing vegetable curries. Below is the recipe for a South Western Salad.
400 grams black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 avocado (cut into chunks)
200 grams cherry tomatoes (halved)
4 spring onions (roughly chopped)
100 grams feta cheese (crumbled)
lime (wedges, to serve, optional)
1 tsp ground Mc Currie cumin seeds
1 tbsp tobasco sauce (Chipotle, use regular Tabasco if you can’t find this)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsps Mc Currie
extra virgin olive oil
Boil the corn for 10mins in salted water, rinse in cold water and then cut the kernels off. Add the beans into a bowl with the cooked corn, tomatoes, avocado and spring onions and then after doing so mix the dressing ingredients with some seasoning and pour over the salad. Mix well, scatter the feta over the top and serve with lime wedges.
Many people in the world are asking the question, is cucumber good for your skin? We see people using it for cosmetic purposes, especially women, often in our lives. Whenever I walk into a ladies salon, I would see women with slices of cucumber on each of her eyes, which I never understood why. This curiosity has led me to find out whether cucumber has actual cosmetic benefits, which we at Mc Currie want to share with our readers.
Cucumber is speculated to have two cosmetic benefits which have not been scientifically proven. They are as follows:
As a Skin Moisturizer
For decades, mothers used to lay cucumber on the eyes of their children to reduce eye puffiness. This is because, cucumber contains ample amounts of water, which when placed on the eyes moisturizes them decreasing the puffiness. This is considered by doctors to be dangerous because if the cucumber is contaminated with bacteria, it could pass from the cucumber to the person through the water, which could result in the person becoming very ill.
Dark Circle Eraser
Cucumbers are a very good source of vitamin K (A cup of cucumber slices contain 17 mcg of vitamin k) . According to an article from “Shape” magazine, vitamin K shrinks capillaries. Dark circles in eyes are caused by expanded capillaries. Therefore, the vitamin K present in cucumber would shrink the capillaries, which in turn would cause the dark circles to disappear.
For all your spice needs please refer to the Mc Currie website.