Category Archives: india

Going Spicy

It’s rather too late to edit my New Year’s Resolution now but I am bent on adding one more on my list and that is:  Using more herbs and spices for better health!

When I used to work in Dubai in the late ’90s, I always raved eating everything Indian and this passion stayed up to the present where cooking curry is part of my culinary calendar.  H always gets excited everytime it’s curry weekend and we even make it a point to buy pita bread to complete the Indian feast.

However, our month stay in Dubai has taken me into a gastronomic re-discovery of Indian cuisine.  My sister cooks great Indian food and my brother-in-law treated us to the best Indian restaurants and the most mouth-watering take-away meals.  And in most of our sightseeing stints, H and I unrelentingly sat in the most humble snack bars in Deira and raved about their most ambrosiac samoussas and other concoctions dipped in “to-die-for” coconut sauce spiced up with cardamon and mustard!

This whole gastronomic experience got me more curious about Indian spices so I did a lot of research and discovered that they are not just there for flavour but also for their abundant health benefits.  As I’ve rambled about in my earlier posts, H and me spent majority of our time in Dubai nursing the flu virus which I contracted in Paris and eventually passed on to him.  That time, I wondered why nobody seems to be ill in that city.  We have been all over the place walking, dining, sightseeing but not a single soul coughed nor sneezed!  Has the desert dust blowing around rendered their lungs pollution-resistant and more immune to virus? 

Now I got the answer:  it’s the spices!

Take for example the cumin, its health benefits aid digestion, piles, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, lactation, anemia, skin disorders, boils and cancer.  Cardamom’s medicinal uses range from relieving stomach dyspepsia, increasing appetite, soothing the mucus membranes, relieving gas and heartburn.  Cinammon can lower cholesterol.  Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory, clears toxins from the body and relief from sore throat, runny nose and blocked bronchial tubes.  Need I say more?

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Here are the spices I brought home from Dubai. Our kitchen may now reek of Indian smell but who cares? It’s our health and dining enjoyment (or vice-versa) that counts!

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These dried pink rose blossoms is great for tea. I made some last night after dinner and we slept like a log!  My research says rose petal tea  has an uplifting effect on the nervous system and can relieve insomnia, depression and fatigue.  Cool!

Evil Eye

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I saw these two lemon-and-chilli thingies on the same day and I wondered if the Indian Community in Dubai are up for another celebration or something.  The first image, I saw at the door of the apartment next to ours, and the second, at a shop window in Deira.  Later that day, I found out that it’s an Indian tradition to use this as talisman to ward off bad luck and evil spirits.