Jan
01
2014

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Heat This Winter with the Dash of Winter Spices

Posted in Food & Recipes, Health & Beauty by Nida Zafar

winter-spices

Aroma and flavor of spices can add delicious touch and taste to your meal. Winter Season offers some flavorful herbs and winter spices which bring their warm effects and luscious tastes to the food and your winter recipes. These superstar winter spices include cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Find out more about winter spices and their health benefits.

Spices through the ages and seasons

Spices were rightfully a valued commodity in the middle Ages when it goaded the West to explore and conquer the spice-growing terrains of East. They not only offered new horizons to the world of flavors, but their magical healing and preventive powers made them worth fighting for. Many, like cinnamon and cardamom, are specifically associated with winters, because of their comfy aroma and cold-fighting abilities. Dashes of ‘Garam Masala’ or Hot Spice powder- a combination of roasted cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and cumin- are used widely in India and Pakistan especially during the winters to imbue taste and health advantages to the meals in the winter season.

Winter Spices and their Benefits

  1. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an excellent defense against cold and is known to strengthen immune system against many other health problems like arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cholesterol. Even half a teaspoon daily can do wonders to your wellbeing. A survey conducted by University of Dresden in 2009 showed that 97% of the people associated the cinnamon aroma with winters, further establishing it as a winter spice. With its sweet fragrance and taste, cinnamon can make any beverage or dessert taste heavens. Cinnamon tea combined with cardamom though, is a recommended winter specialty. (Recipe is shared below)
  2. Cardamom: It helps to keep respiratory tract clean and is also helpful in preventing chest congestion in cold season. Cardamoms have also been known to prevent cancer. Add a pod to tea, curry or rice, and enjoy its taste and benefits in winters.
  3. Ginger: Ginger’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties help to cure flu, migraine and other sicknesses. It is a vital ingredient for many cuisines and its addition to soups and tea make a perfect recipe for winters. Its rooted and powdered forms are easily available in the markets. Recipe for chick and ginger soup is shared below.
  4. Turmeric: This is another sub continental winter spice with many health promoting benefits. Its intake helps to keep the body warm, and its daily pinch to the food builds up the immune system and improves blood circulation in the body.

Winter Spice Recipes

Cinnamon Spice Tea:
Water: 2 Cups
Green or Black Tea Bag: 1
Whole Cloves: 4
Ground Cinnamon: A dash
Ground Cardamom: A dash

Boil water and leave the cloves and tea bag of your choice in it for three minutes. Add in cinnamon and cardamom, and serve hot. Serves 2!

Chicken Ginger Soup:
1 onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 ounces ginger cut in pieces
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
½ kg chicken for stock
Salt
Cilantro leaves (optional)
8 cups water

Combine onions, chicken celery sticks, ginger, garlic and peppercorns with water and cook till the stock is extracted. Shred the chicken and discard the bones. Filter the stock and add the shredded chicken. Reheat the soup, add in salt and garnish with cilantro. Serves 6!

Heat This Winter with the Dash of Winter Spices!


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