THIS WEEK I will continue the discussion about B group vitamins:
Niacin (Vitamin B3). Niacin helps the body utilise the energy that is present in food and keeps the skin and nervous system in good order. Good sources are; mushrooms, cereals, eggs, meat, green vegetables, nuts and beans. Symptoms of mild niacin deficiency include fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, depression, poor circulation and indigestion. More severe niacin deficiency can cause a condition called “Pellagra”. The symptoms of pellagra include digestive problems, inflamed or flaky skin, diarrhoea and mental impairment.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5). Pantothenic acid, like the rest of the B complex vitamins, helps turn carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose is the only carbohydrate that the human body can use directly, starch and sucrose, have to be converted to glucose. B5 is also is necessary for creating red blood cells, various hormones and maintain healthy digestion. Sources include; mushrooms, legumes and lentils, avocados, milk, eggs, and cabbage. Deficiency is very rare and only found in the severely malnourished.
Pyridoxene (Vitamin B6). Vitamin B6 is important to maintaining a healthy body and developing a healthy brain, so it is essential to make sure high levels are maintained during pregnancy and infancy. Sources of B6 include beans, poultry, fish, fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, papayas, oranges and Cantaloupe melons. Severe deficiency is rare, but if slight can produce the following: A weak immune system, anaemia, rashes, scaly skin on the lips, cracks at the corners of the mouth and a swollen tongue.
Biotin (Vitamin B7, AKA, Vitamin H: Confused? So am I!) This split-personality vitamin is synthesised by the bacteria in the gut but is also found in organ meats (liver kidneys), eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, it helps to keep the skin, nails and hair healthy. Biotin deficiency is rare, and severe biotin deficiency in healthy individuals eating a normal mixed diet has never been reported.
This week’s recipe is a Caribbean Curry, Curries are normally associated with India, Pakistan, Thailand and to a lesser extent, China. I am not a great fan of adding fruit (except for the citrus varieties) to savoury dishes, but fruits like mango and pineapple can be added to this recipe five minutes before serving.
Caribbean Chicken Curry
1 kg chicken breast meat skinned, boned and cubed
2 tablespoons of rapeseed or sunflower seed oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon allspice, ground
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cubes chicken stock
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of ground mace
2 tablespoons dried coconut
2 tablespoons mango powder
1 can of tomatoes
1 jigger dark rum
200ml orange juice
1 bunch cilantro leaf, chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with a little water
Fry chicken in oil until browned
Add onion and garlic continue to fry until both golden
Add curry powder, fry for 2 minutes on a very low heat
Add all the other ingredients, except for the cornstarch.
Simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken cooked through. Add cornstarch/water mix very gradually and constantly stirring, to thicken the sauce.
Serve with steamed rice.