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Spices to keep you warm

Jan 2, 2014, DHNS: 19:37 IST
Essential ingredients: Your kitchen holds the key to good health.
Spices have long been treasured for their flavour and health benefits, but, with the advancement of medical science, people are forgetting the use of natural herbs for prevention of certain diseases. Also, natural herbs and spices are best to tackle winter ailments.

There are various spices that can be used in winter food which are heat inducing like Saffron.
An important ingredient in Indian and Mediterranean cuisine Saffron is especially good when taken with milk in winters for its heat inducing qualities. Similarly, black pepper is good for the throat, garlic and ginger have anti-cold and anti-viral properties and increase heat in the system. Reportedly, ginger helps relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle soreness and has been a vital part of Chinese medicine for more than a 1000 years.

Cinnamon, cloves, mace (nutmeg), all have 'hot' characteristics. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its distinctive flavour and colouring and also boasts of plenty of pain-relief benefits and general well being. According to new research turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and also helps to improve circulation and prevent blood clotting. Turmeric has been used in traditional medicines for easing the pain of sprains, strains, bruises and joint inflammation, as well as for treating skin and digestive issues.

Chef Nawal Prakash, Cuisine Trainer, Silk, Oriental Kitchen and Bar, says, “These spices can be incorporated in various forms. Like, pepper is used aptly and liberally in Kaali Mirch aur Dahi ka Chicken. Pepper can also be used otherwise in soups and also for gargling at home. Saffron can be used in soups, kebabs and desserts. Saffron is also used in rogan josh which is specially cooked with saffron tempered with other spices and also used liberally in biryani.”

“Other than this, cloves can also be widely used in soups, stock, stews, like the Teekha Paya Soup, shawarma which uses Bohrat powder to increase body heat and warmth in the cold climate. Cardamom too works very well with Indian desserts especially with gulab jamun which is the perfect winter dessert. Not only can it be served and enjoyed piping hot but the cardamom presence in it makes it a delicious dessert for a cold winter night,” adds Nawal.

In winter a rich garlic soup is a popular choice for many. A lot of garlic is used in Mediterranean cuisine like in various dips for snacks. Oriental dishes also tend to incorporate a lot of garlic. So, a perfect warm soup with chilies, corns and garlic is like a snug, warm cloak in Delhi's freezing winter.

According to Chef Arun Kumar of Zambar, “There is nothing like hot pepper rasam in winter. Other than this, peppercorns coarsely ground are best during winters. It can also be used to marinate or garnish meats and vegetables.

Cumin also induces heat. Best used as a tadka, ground with other spices or powdered, it is a great spice to keep you warm.”

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