Link to recipe: https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/south-indian-style-vegetable-curry
Southern Indian Curry
For the meal I have prepared, I have made a Southern Indian styled vegetable curry. The curry is completely vegan, made with a blend of various vegetables, including sweet potato, ginger, garlic, carrots, peas, onion, and cauliflower. The aroma of the curry is very tangy and spicy, due to the cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon. The base is made with a chicken broth combined with tomato paste and coconut milk. Often served with brown rice, this curry alone can make an incredibly healthy and delightful meal. The term curry comes from the Tamil word kari, which means “sauce” or “relish.” Curry has originally been served with rice, as a topping for a base. The curry that I have made has specifically originated from southern India in the region of Tamil. Tamil uses a combination of specific spices, including cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and coconut. Making curry has historically been a low budget way to make bland foods such as bread, rice, and vegetables have more enjoyable flavor. Curry’s wonderful blend of spices has been around for thousands of years and is one of the staple meals of the entire Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. The spices involved in producing curry has been one of the motivations for vast trade with the subcontinent. The spices found in India were a delicacy in France, Great Britain, Portugal, and the Netherlands during the age of colonization.
Specifically in my dish, Turmeric is a key ingredient. Turmeric is known in Vedic culture as the “golden spice” due to its very bright and golden color. The spice originates back as far as 2500 BCE, and has been used for thousands of years medicinally as well as culinarily. Turmeric has been used as an effective anti-inflammatory treatment that’s said to rival ibuprofen. The vitamins found in this spice have been thought to have cancer-fighting attributes, reducing the risk that one has for colon and heart cancer. Turmeric is also used to reduce cholesterol and treat heart disease. Furthermore, Turmeric, for centuries, has been used to dye various cloths and clothings. The vibrant organ color that gives my curry its color has been used to dye religious clothing. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed using Turmeric, giving the robes a beautiful orange and gold complexion. The dye has also been thought of as sacred and auspicious in Hindu culture. In Hindu marriages, Turmeric is attached to necklaces worn by the bride and husband and symbolizes a stable household in the Hindu religion. Similarly, Turmeric jewelry is worn as a defense against evil spirits in the Hindu religion.
Turmeric is a wonderful spice that is found in many dishes today and has given my Tamil-inspired curry a wonderful, tangy flavor. It is a spice that has been used for centuries, medicinally, culinarily, and decoratively. It is a delicacy in almost every culture that it finds, and will continue to hold the same hype that its been given.