Can you imagine sweet without sour, black without white, or ice without water? It’s hard. The same mix of yin and yang has continued in the typical Indian kitchen in the incredible co-existence of chilli and jaggery powder.
No experienced homemaker in our country would dare to whip up a chutney without the perfect proportion of both the extremes in the recipe. The same applies to most chutneys, finger-snack dips, sauces, pickles, soups, and even pulse preparations.
The strong flavours that these ingredients individually pack are amplified when the opposites start complimenting a dish. To enjoy the good hot taste of pure red chilli, there is no better way to highlight it with a dash of jaggery and vice versa. No wonder even ice-cream brands have started incorporating a chilli ice-cream on their tempting shelves.
This is not all about the flavour though. Red chilli contains a strong range of health-friendly parts like capsaicin, Vitamin C, Carotenoids and some vital anti-oxidants. The presence of healthy compounds makes them useful for many body functions and metabolic processes. They are therefore particularly important in cases of inflammation, nerve disorders, arthritis, psoriasis etc. They also come useful in issues like cholesterol, clotting, triglyceride, platelet formation, free-radical formation, pulmonary disorders etc. due to the presence of cayenne. In addition, they assist in aspects like treating congestion, strengthening immunity, tackling mucus infections, stomach ulcers etc.
They are also helpful in the treatment of diabetes (especially the risk of hyperinsulinemia) and in maintaining a proper weight.
Choosing organic varieties ensures that irradiation concerns are solved. One can choose from a wide assortment of dried options available now that can be adapted or picked as per one’s comfort with pungency levels and the kind of recipes being made.
Similarly, jaggery powder can be enjoyed not only for its taste and complementary benefits but also for health gains like aiding digestion, treating constipation etc. Jaggery powder is also a strong source of minerals and other important nutrients while providing good calories and strength to the body without harming it like refined sugar does. Picking date palm or coconut derivatives is advisable here. Unlike sugar, which is a simple carbohydrate; jaggery is a complex carbohydrate and hence a good source of healthy calories without the side effects of weight gain. Talking of weight, the presence of potassium in jaggery powder helps in balancing electrolytes and thus helps in weight loss.
Other minerals like iron, folate, magnesium, selenium, zinc etc. are also profound in this small treat that makes it ideal for good haemoglobin levels, maintaining immunity, treating anaemia and bone disorders etc.
Jaggery is specially used in the treatment of cough, cold, and joint pain. It is extremely beneficial as liver detoxifier and blood cleansers as well. This is a food that tempts and treats people of all age groups and tastebuds alike.
So, restock your pack of organic jaggery and red chilli powder today. Keep enjoying the wonders of this amazing friendship between two names that almost appear to be enemies but turn out to be cousins in disguise in a well-cooked recipe.