Thanks to new research at www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata/ORAC, now all eyes are on “super spices.”
Using a scale to measure the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC, scientists have discovered that a variety of commonly consumed herbs and spices contain high amounts of health-promoting antioxidants that relieve inflammation and ward off heart disease and some types of cancer.
Curry powder is actually a complex blend of up to 20 spices, herbs and seeds. Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, red and black pepper, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and turmeric, the spice responsible for giving curry powder its warm, rich yellow-gold colour.
The art of spice blending is a natural part of cooking in India, where home cooks develop their own signature curry powder that they grind fresh, as needed. Commercially available curry powders were a British convenience food used to approximate the taste of regional curries.