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Monday, January 24, 2011

SWEET BAY LEAVES--Deceptive Name, Delicious Addition

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The Bay Leaf, found on Bay Laurel evergreens and shrubs throughout Europe, North America, and India, has become a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and serves as a healthy and delicious supplement to any diet.
Contrary to its deceptive nickname – “Sweet Bay” – the Bay Leaf is actually intensely bitter and may even be harmful if ingested whole due to its razor-sharp edges. However, it has become quite a popular food additive due to its exotic flavoring, olfactory appeal, and long shelf-life (one year!). Most often, it is ground up and used in spicy dishes, such as biryani (see recipe below), or boiled in soups, sauces and stews. Many are also attracted to its distinctive scent, which can brighten any meal!
Bay Leaves are an excellent choice for type 2 diabetics, because they help the body process insulin more efficiently, therefore lowering blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (diabetics are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease). Additionally, they have been used throughout history to cure migraines, bacterial and fungal infections, indigestion, and much more!

Try this Recipe for… Biryani
A spicy Persian/South Asian Dish

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-2 lbs. Chicken with bones (cut into small pieces)
-2 cups Basmati Rice (washed)
-1 packet Shan Special Bombay Biryani Mix
-2 tablespoons crushed garlic
-2 tablespoons cup plain yogurt
-2 tablespoons grated ginger
-1/2 onion (finely sliced)
-1 tomato (cut into small pieces)
-5 tablespoons oil
-3 medium potatoes (peeled & halved)
-Crushed bay leaves

1. Fry the onion in hot oil until golden. Add tomatoes and fry until the oil separates.
2. Add meat, garlic, ginger, potatoes, yogurt, bay leaves, and Shan Bombay Biryani Mix. Fry for 15 minutes.
3. Add 1-2 cups of water and cook on low heat until the meat is tender. Then increase the heat and stir fry until oil separates from the gravy.
4. SEPARATELY, boil the washed rice in 12 glasses of hot water. Boil until the rice is more than half cooked. Remove from heat and thoroughly drain the water.
5. Spread the cooked meat and curry over the rice in TWO layers. Cover the pot and cook on low heat until the rice is fully cooked and tender. (Approximately 30 minutes) Mix before serving.
*This recipe serves 6-8 people

by Zuhayr Mallam, Founder of the UC Davis Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group (DAAG).  

1 comment:

BackhoeHeiress said...

As spices/herbs go, bay leaves are a bargain because they weigh so little. I just purchased some this week at the Davis Food Co-op and they were the cheapest item in the cart.