Friday, February 6, 2009
Halal Chicken Curry and Veggie Korma for Brits in Afghanistan
Corned beef hash is giving way to halal chicken curry and veggie korma on the menu for the British troops in Afghanistan, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The new menus - including halal, vegetarian and Sikh and Hindu diets - are designed for troops serving in extreme weather conditions, and will be trialled on the front lines from May until October. Among the new additions are chicken tikka masala, the British version of south Asian curries that was once referred to as a "national dish" by former foreign secretary Robin Cook, and Thai green vegetable curry.
Britain has 4100 troops in Iraq, most of whom will pull out by the middle of the year, and some 8300 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of whom are fighting a fierce insurgency against Taliban militia in the south of the country.
It has been a while since chicken tikka masala" overtook fish and chips as the nation's favorite meal in Britain. It is estimated that curry now accounts for 2/3rds of all eating out. So an additional advantage of making spicy foods available to British troops in Afghanistan is that they will feel less homesick.
There has been speculation that spicy foods have an impact on temperament. It has been suggested that the popularity of curry in England has made the English more expressive of their emotions. Though much is suspected, relatively little is known about the health effects of peppery foods. In general, hot, spicy foods are stimulants. They stimulate the circulation and raise body temperature. If you are living in a hot climate, the increase in body temperature can make you feel cooler by diminishing the difference between your body and the surrounding air and by inducing sweating, which cools the body when the perspiration evaporates.
Nutritionally, capsicum peppers, both sweet and hot, have something important to offer: large amounts of vitamin C, according to the New York Times health columnist Jane Brody. In fact, ounce for ounce, peppers have two and a half times more vitamin C than oranges. They are also good sources of vitamin A (which may account for the claim that they help prevent night blindness) and potassium and contain some iron and protein. At the same time, they are very low in fat and calories: 22 calories in three and a half ounces.
The new cuisine could possibly help the British to stay happy, healthy and cool in the hot Southern Afghan climate while still keeping them sufficiently fired up to fight the ferocious Taliban insurgents.