Curry is enjoyed by Malaysians everyday. Chili, spices, herbs, coconut are the main ingredients used in cooking curry. These are categorized as Yin Food in macrobiotics. As the Malaysian weather is hot at an average temperature of about 30 degree Celsius, the foods people tend to enjoy here have more Yin and soft energies in order to live harmoniously with the nature. However, balance is the essence.
Most of us are unbalanced. We work too hard, don’t get enough rest, have too much stress in our lives, and don’t take adequate time to really care for ourselves. When we’re young, our bodies manage to correct imbalances with incredible ease. But if we continue to push the limits, ignoring our body’s signals for rest and care, we lose our ability to self regulate.
The food we eat translates into energy, and has a profound impact on our internal healing mechanisms. Macrobiotic theory defines very clear energy patterns in food, and promotes understanding of how those patterns interact with one another.
In simplistic terms, Yin is expansive, cool, moistening, light and upward growing. Yang is contractive, warm, drying, compact and downward, macrobiotic food incorporates an ever-moving relationship between the opposite but complementary energies of yin and yang. The idea is to balance energies: hard with soft, opening with contracting, expansive with inward. Some of the ways we see this in food are explored below.
Vegetable or Animal
With the exception of seaweed, all fruits and vegetables are yin foods.
Fish, meat, eggs, and nearly all other animal foods are yang.
Sweet or Salty
The sweeter the food is, the more yin energy it holds.
Coconut, banana and mango are good examples of very yin foods.
Saltiness is a yang characteristic. Any form of salt, caviar, and aged salty cheeses are very yang foods. Shoyu, tamari and miso are also Yang foods.
Cool or Hot
Fruits and vegetables are cooling to the body, and turn down the internal thermostat. Animal foods, with their concentrated protein, are heating and are very yang.
Here is a vegetable curry recipe that I have adjusted to be more neutral in energy. No sugar is being used in this recipe.
- 1 medium-size sweet potato, cut into 2.5cm cubes
- 1 carrot, small, rolled cut
- 1 brinjal, halved and cut into 2cm half-moon shape
- 100g cauliflower, cut into florets
- 200g green cabbage, cut into 3cm squares
- 4 ladies finger, small size
- 2 long beans, cut 3cm length
- 4 cubes deep-fried tofu (3cm)
Spices and herbs:
- 3 tablespoons Woods’ Nyonya curry powder
- 1 sprig curry leaves, stem removed
- 2 lemongrass, white part only, crushed
- 3 tablespoons Woods’ sambal paste
- 3-4 cekur leaves
- 2 teaspoons kombu shiitake dashi powder
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 2-3 tablespoons shoyu (use tamari if gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon shiro miso
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons brown rice oil
- 1 young coconut in shell
- 1 cup kombu dashi stock
- Combine nyonya
curry powder with sambal, add some kombu dashi stock to make a paste.
- Saute with brown rice oil, curry leaves and lemongrass in a pan.
- Add dashi stock, cekur leaves, add potato, cabbage, carrot and brinjal. Bring to a boil. Reduce flame, cover, and simmer until vegetables are slightly soft. Add ladies finger, cauliflower and long bean.
- Scoop out the flesh of the coconut, blend in the blender with the coconut juice
- Add to (3)
- Add seasoning. Add tofu.
- Adjust taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy.
Note: This curry is great with brown rice, whole wheat or buckwheat noodles, bread or toasts.
To prepare curry noodles
You will need 90g whole wheat somen noodles, cooked in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. Remove and transfer to a pot of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain.
Transfer noodles to a serving bowl, pour curry over.
To thicken curry for sandwich filling:
Take a cup of the curry vegetables, simmer and add 1 tablespoon unrefined kudzu diluted with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir into the curry, simmer and stir for a further 1 minute until thickened.
Posted by June Ka Lim