Honey Is The Secret Ingredient To Take Your Curry Up A Notch

Whether you may be familiar with the differences between curries from various countries, such as Indian versus Japanese curry, and perhaps even know how to make them at home, there's a special flavor enhancer that you may not have thought to add: honey. It might not seem like the most obvious choice for a savory, spicy curry, but if you give it a try, you'll find that this simple ingredient can have a powerful effect, amplifying the other flavors in the dish.

In addition to the complex combination of spices that make a curry so delicious, honey balances things out with some sweetness. A lightly sweet note can bring out the aroma of the spices even more, as well as the savory side of your proteins and veggies. Besides the flavor component, honey also affects the texture of the dish. The thick viscosity of honey adds body to your curry sauce or broth, whether it be thinner or thicker to start with. This can be helpful if you want to make a lighter version of Indian curry that uses less ghee (clarified butter). A tablespoon or so of ghee and an extra drizzle of honey can add the right sweetness and rich body to your dish, without a lot of extra fat.

Honey, spice, and everything nice

It's easy to take your curry to the next level with a little bit of honey. All you need to do is prepare your favorite curry as usual, then drizzle honey lightly over the dish just before serving. If you're already in the habit of adding hot honey to your food, it won't surprise you that honey makes a great addition to curry. The sweetness of the honey is the perfect partner for the diverse flavors of curry, including the heat of spices like black pepper or chili pepper, the brightness of fresh ginger, the smokiness of black cardamom, and the earthy notes of turmeric.

Honey makes for a great background flavor in more complex curries. When cooking curry with honey for the first time, though, you may want to try a simple recipe, like swiss chard and coconut curry with rice. Not only are curries with less ingredients easier to make, but you can really taste the difference that honey makes, as it's not covered up by aggressive spice blends or lots of chili heat.

Health benefits of adding honey to your curry

On its own, honey has plenty of unique health properties that make it a great addition to your daily diet. It can be preventative or restorative as a natural kind of antimicrobial medicine, and can soothe everything from a sore throat or an upset stomach to seasonal allergies. Honey also contains vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc that will help keep you in good shape, especially during the colder seasons, when a warm curry is especially appetizing. Be sure to buy high quality local honey and fresh spices to maximize both the flavor of your curry and its the health benefits.

When added to curry, the healthful qualities of honey can be boosted by the nutrients in other ingredients. In particular, honey and turmeric — a spice found in many curries — are a potent nutritional pair. Both honey and curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric, are anti-inflammatory, which can help with some painful conditions like arthritis. If you crave curry to fill you up and ward away winter colds, honey will be your best friend in enhancing those effects.