Please join me for a light, healthy, SPICY dinner on Thursday: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-introduction-to-rice-curry-sri-lankan-home-cooking-with-gastronaut-skiz-fernando-bazaar-spices-tickets-26312953753 Continue reading Rice & Curry @ Union Market DC, Thursday, July 21st
Ask anyone who lives or has spent some time in Jordan’s capital of Amman what their favorite restaurant is, and most likely “Fakhr El-Din” will be the first name out of their lips. I had heard plenty about this upscale Lebanese restaurant, founded in 1997 and located near Amman’s second circle in a house once … Continue reading Fakhr El-Din Restaurant — Amman, Jordan
I must confess to being a huge fan of mussels. These quick and easy to make little bivalve mollusks, which pack loads of flavor, may be prepared in so many ways, but I prefer mine steamed. Once considered ‘poor man’s food,’ mussels have definitely undergone a transformation of late, and you can see them on restaurant … Continue reading Pan Asian: Steamed Mussels (Hoi Ma-Laeng Poo Ob) — Thailand
Welcome to the 4th season of Pan Asian! I never figured that this little exercise in opening my own food horizons would last this long, and garner such a loyal following. So thanks to all of you readers and viewers, and everyone who has checked out my blog and YouTube channel. If you like what … Continue reading Pan Asian: Sweet Potato with Fenugreek Leaves (Kerala, India)
The following is another recent article about the benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon, that I found in the Wall Street Journal. Little Bit of Spice for Health, but Which One? While Ceylon Cinnamon Is Milder Than Grocery-Store Variety, There Are Few Studies on Its Benefits By LAURA JOHANNES Oct. 14, 2013 5:35 p.m. ET Ceylon cinnamon, … Continue reading Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia: Part 2 (from The Wall Street Journal)
Who isn’t into eating healthy these days? And saving time and money. These are some of the reasons I provide this community service known as Pan Asian. Until very recently, I did not have health insurance, so the food I eat has become an important part of ensuring that I stay on top of my … Continue reading Pan Asian: Stir Fried Fish with Mushrooms & Ginger (Vietnam)
I don’t usually reprint articles from other blogs in full, but I thought the information in this particular piece was important enough to share. It comes from the blog of one Joel Fuhrman Ph.D., a New York Times Best-selling author and nutritionist. Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon The two major types of cinnamon used in … Continue reading Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia (i.e. Saigon Cinnamon)
Cinnamon is a fun spice. While most people typically use it for sweet applications, I like to use a whole stick in curries and even to subtly flavor rice. The cinnamon we get in Sri Lanka, home of the cinnamon tree, is a dusty light brown that crumbles easily and grinds to a peppery sweet powder. Also try some cinnamon oil sometime, which is the extract of the leaves and much more concentrated in flavor. The ‘cinnamon’ available in the U.S. is more often than not, cassia, a tree of the same family, but much harsher in taste and harder in texture, not to mention darker. Because of the dearth of real cinnamon here, and the exorbitant expense (Penzey’s sells a 4 oz. bag for $11.29), I’ve decided to go into the cinnamon business, and share with you all the amazing Pure Ceylon Cinnamon I get from my cousin in Sri Lanka, who gets it directly from the growers. Cinnamon is one of those products like coconut oil, whose benefits people in the west are just discovering. Sri Lankans use cinnamon on a daily basis–and not just in the morning porridge–and they are all the better off for it. Once you taste real cinnamon, and discover it’s many uses, you will never go back to cassia.
Here’s the 411:
|Cinnamon spice of many uses|
Cinnamon is the dried bark of the perennial tree of Cinnamom varum syn. C.zeylanicum of the Lauraceae family. True cinnamon is the native to Sri Lanka and originally grown wild in the central hill country of Sri Lanka. Several species of cinnamon occur sporadically in places such as Kandy, Matale, Belihull Oya, Haputale and the Sinharaja forest range. Although cinnamon cultivation is presently concentrated along the coastal belt stretching along from Kalutara to Matara, it has also made inroads to the inland of Kalutara, Ambalangoda, Matara and Ratnapura.
There are eight cinnamon species in Sri Lanka. Among them only Cinnamomum verum Presal (C. zeylanicum Blume) is grown commercially. Traditionaly, there were several types of cinnamon categorized based on the taste of the bark in Sri Lanka and they are;
Naga Kurundu Pani Miris Kurundu
As mentioned above Cinnamon provides various outstanding benefits. Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice and it is largely available in the form of quills which is unique practice to Sri Lanka. Quills are made by rolling the pealed bark and join several of them together to get a pipe like structure of the required length. Other than that pieces of bark are available as chips, quillings or featherings.
Cinnamon is unique plant which has essential oil in leaves, bark and roots but chemical composition of them are completely different from each other. Essential oils are produced from both bark and leaves; major chemical in bark oil is Cinnamaldehyde and in leaf oil Euginol. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material. It is also used in many dessert recipes, such as apple pie, doughnuts, and cinnamon buns, tea, hot cocoa, liqueurs, salads, confectionaries, soups, stews and sauces.
In addition, did you ever know that Cinnamon is comprised with innumerable health benefits as well? Followings are some of the health benefits of cinnamon. But it should be noted that before taking cinnamon for medicinal purposes it is wise to consult a doctor as overdoses will lead to complications.
Blood sugar Control: According to many studies, there is evidence that Cinnamon has properties that help those with insulin resistance. It is therefore very popular with Type 2 diabetics who take it to control their blood sugar variations.
Anti-Bacterial/Anti Microbial properties: It is said that Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil is a powerful anti-bacterial and has natural disinfectant properties. According to recent researches, Cinnamon oil has the best anti microbial activity among three oils against Escherichia coli , Staphylococcus aureus , Aspergillus oryzae ,and Penicillium digitatum . Therefore it is wise to use cinnamon leaf oil with water to disinfect kitchen counter tops, sinks, your refrigerator, door knobs, toys and many other things.
Anti-oxidant: Cinnamon is one of the top seven anti-oxidants in the world. Anti- oxidants reduce the formation of Free Radicals that cause cancer and according to researches, Cinnamon has sufficient anti-oxidant properties and makes for improved food palatability.
Weight Reducer: Cinnamon apparently has the effect of blood thinning thereby increasing blood circulation. It is said that increased blood flow generally boosts metabolism which helps in weight loss. This blood thinning property of Cinnamon also acts as an anti clotting agent especially for those suffering from heart disease. However it should be strictly noted that it should not be taken with other blood thinning medication.
Arthritis/Osteoporosis: Drinking Cinnamon tea helps the pain from arthritis and Cinnamon Oil based massage helps to ease the pain. Cinnamon has high levels of Manganese which is used to build bones.
Lowering LDL cholesterol/triglycerides : LDL is also known as the harmful cholesterol. Reducing it may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cognitive Development: Cinnamon improves response times and memory recall.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Cinnamon significantly reduces the uncomfortable feelings associated with IBS, especially the bloating. It does this by killing bacteria and healing infections in the GI tract and enabling the gastric juices to work normally.
Cold, Sore Throat and Cough: At the first sign of sniffles or an itch in the throat, it is advised to take some Cinnamon Tea or Cinnamon stick Tea. This is associated with the anti bacterial properties and warming properties of Cinnamon and its propensity to increase blood flow and thereby improve blood oxygen levels to fight illness.
Therefore it is worthwhile to incorporate this precious spice “Cinnamon” that can be easily found here in Sri Lanka.
With spring upon us and summer right around the corner, I’m inspired to get outside more, and start hitting the farmers market for fresh produce. It’s also time to start shedding that winter weight and get healthy again, and vegetables are the perfect tonic. Since the south of India is known for its primarily vegetarian … Continue reading Pan Asian: Vegetable Kurma (South India)
I originally made my raw and roasted Sri Lankan curry powder at home and gave it out to friends and family, who were the first to encourage me to actually market my brand. When my book came out, this seemed like a no brainer as most of my recipes called for either a raw or … Continue reading Skiz’s Original Spice Blends