Functional Food Friday: Durban Curry

This week Friday’s Food is definitely functional. The folks from Authentic Human, Gavin and Candice are bringing us Durban Curry. Gavin is going to show us how to make Durban Curry and Candice tells us why curry is a super-functional food.

Gavin grew up in Durban, which is a city on the East coast of South Africa. The area has a large Indian population which has influenced the local culinary tastes so that fragrant and flavorful spices feature heavily in the local cuisine. Today we are making a slightly Westernized version of the Durban Curry that Gavin grew up with to make it easier to make in American (or Worldwide) kitchens. It is an incredibly flavorful, highly nutritious and relatively simple dish to make that will have everyone asking for more! You can make it as hot or mild as you choose – this version is mild to accommodate Cailin who doesn’t like hot curry.

The word “curry” is believed to derive from the Tamil word for “gravy” and what makes curry a super-functional food is the curry spices. Curry powder’s main component is tumeric and it is the curcumin in tumeric that gives it its characteristic yellow color. Tumeric is typically combined with other spices such as cardamom, cumin, coriander and fenugreek to create curry powder but other spices and herbs may be included; fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, nutmeg and red or black pepper.
Curry powder therefore contains many powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which increase levels of the antioxidants vitamins C and E, protect DNA from damage and prevent lipid oxidation that can lead to heart disease. In fact just two teaspoons of curry powder have as many as many antioxidants as a cup of grapes.

Some of the benefits of curry powder are:

  • Improved liver function and cholesterol control
  • Improved cognitive function & protection from Alzheimer’s
  • May prevent cancer (curcumin interferes with melanoma cells, )
  • Prevention of auto-immune disorders like Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis or Fibromyalgia
  • Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
  • Helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Natural remedy for a wide variety of conditions including jaundice, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

Ginger is also rich in antioxidants – its active ingredient, gingerol, has long been considered a strong pain relieved and Anti-inflammatory. It is often used as a natural remedy for indigestion, arthritis, nausea and migraines.

Cinnamon can be used in both sweet and savory dishes but is a wonderful complementary spice with curry and has one of the highest antioxidant levels found in any spice. It is also rich in polyphenols that help regulate blood sugar levels.

Here’s the recipe for the Beef Curry we make in the video:

1/4 cup beef tallow or olive oil
3-4 pounds of organic grass-fed lamb or beef (whole pieces with bone in or cubed if not)
3 medium organic onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of organic garlic
1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh organic ginger (or ginger paste)
3 teaspoons of organic curry powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric (optional but has lots of health benefits))
1 teaspoon of paprika (optional)
1 teaspoon of coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
3 organic bay leaves
2 large organic tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 large organic potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups chopped organic carrots
2 tablespoons fruit chutney or apricot preserve
1 cup organic beef or chicken broth (preferably home made)
1 tablespoon vinegar (any kind but balsamic works well)
2 cups of water.
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons almond butter – used to thicken the sauce if necessary (optional)

How to make it:

In a heavy pot, preferably a cast iron casserole or Dutch Oven, that can transfer from the stove top to the oven, heat the oil. Then add the meat and cook over a medium high heat until the meat is nicely brown and caramelized on all sides.

Add the onion, garlic, ginger and all of the spices, lifting the browned meat if necessary so that the newly introduced ingredients are at the bottom. Saute gently until the onion is soft and a little brown.

Now simply add all of the remaining ingredients except for the almond butter. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Cover tightly with a lid and place in the oven at 250 degrees F. for at least four hours. Six to eight hours is better if you are using larger pieces that have a lot of bone and connective tissue.

Re-season and if necessary thicken with a 2 tablespoons of almond butter.

Garnish as desired and serve with white rice, chutney and sambals.

Serves around 8-10 and is mild to medium in heat.

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About the Author:

Candice is a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach living in sunny San Diego, California with her husband and seven year old daughter. She is passionate about nutrition and holistic health and sharing what she has learned and continues to learn with others who want to achieve health and vitality.