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Turmeric is part of the ginger family and is one of the main curry spices. It is native to Asia and has been used as a flavoring, dye, and for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, especially in Ayurvedic medicine. India is the main producer of turmeric, where it’s used as a cooking spice, an antibacterial agent, and as a medicinal dietary supplement.

The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric is curcumin. Research involving curcumin is exploding and studies indicate it may be helpful in a variety of inflammatory diseases, including IBS, pancreatitis, liver disorders, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and intestinal cancers. I decided to showcase this zippy little spice because these inflammatory conditions can be symptomatic of celiac disease and using food in healing is my interest and protocol for people with celiac (that includes me).

You’ll be hearing more about curcumin, as it’s the new super-star of antioxidants (new to the west, not to the east). There are clinical trials currently underway at the National Institutes of Health, Yale University, and UCLA (just to name a few) about the health benefits of the spice. Hundreds of research papers have appeared in the past few years, touting the medicinal properties of curcumin, the magic agent in turmeric and curry.

So, to help you add some spice to your healing power, here’s a simple chicken curry recipe that’s therapeutic, tasty, and a good “starter” recipe if you haven’t cooked with curry before or aren’t used to Indian food.

chicken curry (recipe from Penzeys Spices)

what you need
• 1 lb chicken breast meat, boned and cubed
• 2 – 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 4 inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
• 1 teaspoon hot curry powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (divided)
• 2 ripe tomatoes, good-sized, washed, cored and chopped into large chunks
• 1 cup plain yogurt

what you do
• place all spices in small bowl, cover with 2 tablespoons water, let stand while preparing chicken and other ingredients
• heat oil over medium heat
• add onion, then ginger and garlic; stir frequently and saute for about 3 minutes (good smells!)
• spoon in curry/water mixture and stir quickly; the mix will become quite dry; keep stirring until everything is a smooth paste, about 2 minutes
• add chicken pieces, saute quickly for a few minutes until well-coated
• add water and chopped tomatoes, stir well
• reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring often
• add yogurt, stir well and simmer until sauce is thick and golden (about 10 more minutes)
• taste and add a touch of salt if desired
• serve with basmati rice

serves 4

*curry spice is wonderful in homemade chicken or turkey salad


3 Responses to “turmeric and chicken curry”

  1. Tevis says:

    Also, if you want more veggie’s in your curry, my friend Eva and I used to add spinach and some potatoes to our weekly curry dishes while living in Glasgow. The spinach ends up tasting great with curry (and turmeric).

  2. Melissa says:

    Mmm, potatoes and curry? I always think of rice with curry, but spinach and potatoes sounds really good. Good idea, Tev. Yum!

    This is interesting as well – there’s a pharmaceutical company in North Carolina that’s putting together research and some clinical trials on the use of curcumin cream for healing skin conditions like psoriasis. There may be one already on the market.

    Here’s a long list of research articles about the different benefits of turmeric (curcumin or curry). If you scroll down once you get to the website, you’ll see a long list of journal articles. Good stuff for sure!

  3. Cindy says:


    Man, you have great timing. I am sitting up here in the lab stuffed from a local New Haven Indian buffet. It was fantastic! I have yet to get sick from any gluten and I’ve eaten out Thai (spicy duck), Mexican (beef fajitas with corn tortillas, rice, beans, etc but no dairy), and today Indian (chicken tandoori, curry coconut chicken, coconut curry veggies, spicy red chili oil, fried cauliflower, and much much more). New Haven is great- I have yet to need any of the stuff I packed, really. I get a week of fancy meals. My tummy isn’t used to this! Jon is doomed.
    I love tumeric- I add it to all my meat, greens, and of course hummus and bean spreads…. It makes a fantastic antioxidant gut-healer when combined with a whole, living food like spirulina or chlorella. Yummm! Oh, and don’t forget the seaweed.
    How is everything else for you? I bet that curry helped you detox some of those sweet goodies… normalizing your sugar levels will be tough. I know, I am eating way too much and too much not low glycemic food this week and I feel a sugar crash coming on. Hey, spice beats the heck outta sugar anyways, rock on!

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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