Winter is often referred to as the flu season, which is a good reminder to nourish our body and mind so that it is at it's optimal state for fighting any pathogens we may encounter.
Consuming anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-oxidant rich foods that nourish and support our body, is a fun delicious way to support the body and immune system.
My childhood friend, Max, is passionate about food and health, and has shared this delicious Red Lentil Coconut Curry recipe with us, packed with immune supporting nutrients. Some key call outs are:
- Turmeric - The primary active component of turmeric, is curcumin. Curcumin is responsible for the yellow colour and most of the health benefits of turmeric. Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that also has anti-inflammatory benefits. The bio-availability (the extent to which the substance is used or absorbed by the body) of curcumin is enhanced by the addition of black pepper, so it's a good idea to consume the two together.
- Coconut oil - the highest natural source of lauric acid, which has been studied for it's antiviral benefits as well as ability to achieve healthy cholesterol levels
- Ginger - another favourite, used widely in Ayurvedic medicine for it's ability to support digestion (specifically, "agni" or digestive fire and energy), anti-inflammatory and supports the regulation of blood sugar
- Garlic - has been used in many traditional medicines for it's ability to destroy bacteria and viruses.
Red Lentil Coconut Curry Recipe, by @maxiemama
Red lentil coconut curry. Super easy and very mild in flavour.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds
1 head of garlic, chopped (10–12 cloves)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup dried red lentils
1–2 teaspoons cayenne powder, optional
3 cups of water
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1 large zucchini (optional)
1 large red capsicum (optional)
A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro
Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast until they start to brown, about 45 seconds. Add the garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the zucchini, capsicum and can of crushed tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt to the pot and cook, stirring the pot a few times, for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and, if using, the cayenne powder, and the water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. If the curry starts to look dry, add an extra 1/2 – 1 cup of water.
Once the lentils are soft and the curry is thick, add the coconut milk and cherry tomatoes and bring the pot back to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro. .