One spoonful of this week's curry will have you humming like a phone on vibrate. There is electrifying happiness to be found inside cayenne chilli pepper. It's not simply the heat jump-starting your dimples. It is, in fact, the active compounds found in the pepper that tickles our feelgood endorphins. Special agent capsaicin is responsible for this biochemical effect.
urprisingly, capsaicin's unique selling point does not lie within its ability to charm our bodies, or in its antioxidant taekwondo moves. There's even more talent to applaud. Capsaicin is a brilliant agitator. As we freak out to cope with the blaze of a hot chilli, for example, our body releases a stash of natural painkillers in direct response to the capsaicin content.
These endorphins lollop through our system like nectar in our veins. It's no wonder curry night is so damn popular!
Creamy Potato Curry
You will need:
120g cashew nuts
2 onions, peeled
2 tablespoons butter or oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Generous pinch cayenne chilli pepper
1x 600g jar tomato passata
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
Juice of 1 lime
700g baby potatoes
200g frozen peas
Sticky rice, to serve
1 Soak your cashews in cold water overnight, or for a minimum of five hours. Drain them, discarding the soaking liquid. Set the soaked cashews aside in the fridge until required.
2 To make the sauce, chop your onions and saute them in the butter or the oil, whichever you are using, for 10 minutes over a low heat until they are glassy. Add the roughly chopped garlic and the roughly chopped fresh ginger to the onions. Whack up the heat and add the sweet paprika, the ground cumin and the cayenne chilli pepper. Stir for 2-5 minutes, to prevent burning.
3 Now, add the soaked cashews you set aside earlier, the passata, the coconut sugar and the lime juice. Softly simmer for 10 minutes.
4 While your sauce is puttering away, steam the baby potatoes until they are cooked.
5 When the sauce has finished simmering, blitz it until it is smooth. You can use a blender for this step, but watch out for hot splashes!
6 Return the blitzed sauce to the pot and parachute in your cooked baby potatoes, halving the larger ones. You can add the frozen peas at this stage, and then heat the curry until it is until piping hot before plating up. Serve with the sticky rice.
7 You can freeze this curry in individual portions, ready to rock during those chaotic weeks when it's tricky to find the time to cook nourishing meals. To defrost, take the curry out of the freezer one day in advance and allow it to thaw inside the fridge. Heat to a bubbling boil, and serve with sticky rice.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine