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Cumin: Nature's Spicy Antioxidant?

There's more to Indian food than exotic, spicy flavor. According to recent research, cumin, a spice commonly found in Indian cuisine, may function as a powerful antioxidant.

Indian food lovers, rejoice. According to V.R. Sreeraman, writing for MedIndia.net, cumin, a spice commonly found in curries, has been found to be a rich source of antioxidants.

But why are antioxidants so important? Sreeraman explains, "Reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free radicals, are produced as part of the metabolic processes necessary for life. Oxidative stress, however, is caused by overproduction or under-removal of these free radicals.

Oxidative stress is itself involved in a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis, neural degenerative disease, inflammation, cancer and aging. Antioxidants are thought to mop up these free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent disease."

According to Sreeraman, Researchers from Mysore, India have used biochemical and biological techniques to show that cumin seeds are high in antioxidants. Wonderful news for all us Indian food and curry lovers out there!

For a double anti-oxidant whammy, try this outstanding recipe for Curried Mushrooms. Not only are mushrooms a great source of antioxidant minerals, they're an excellent source of B vitamins and potassium. There are only about 20 calories in five mushrooms. They add a delightful body and texture to dishes, and readily absorb the flavors of the herbs and spices they're cooked among. You can use common white or button mushrooms for this recipe, which are very inexpensive and widely available.

Serve your curried mushrooms on a fluffy bed of white basmati rice, which is available in most supermarkets. Other varieties of rice, like plain white rice, can also be served with this dish. Having your rice prepared before you begin making the curry may help things go a little smoother when it's time to serve the meal. If you'd like to serve your curry with a flatbread like prathra or chapiti, but don't have time to make some, consider serving flour tortillas instead. Heat them for a few seconds on each side in an ungreased skillet to make them soft and pliable.

Southern Indian Curried Mushrooms

* 1 pound white mushrooms, thoroughly cleaned and cut into thin slices
* 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
* 1 tomato, chopped
* 1/3 cup water
* 2 teaspoons fennel seed
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
* 1 tablespoon curry powder
* 1 -2 teaspoons cumin
* 1-2 teaspoons salt
* 5 teaspoons cooking oil

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded cooking pot. Add the chopped onions and fry until they begin to brown. Add the chopped tomato and continue to fry for an additional 7-8 minutes. Add the salt and spices, mushrooms and water and stir together well. Place the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 5-7 minutesFeature Articles, or until most of the water evaporates.

Article Tags: Curried Mushrooms

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