It was always there in her blood. But May Fridel took an active interest in spices when her son got food allergy issues. Realising that the root of the problem is processed food, she began making traditional recipes, integrating spices that she knew of as a little girl growing up in Kerala. Her family was connected to spice trade for years, both on her mom’s and dad’s side. She grew up and moved to the US to become a financial services executive. But she left her job to make the all-too-familiar spice-filled recipes for her son and it worked. He did not have health issues anymore. May wanted to showcase this to the world, these recipes that could work magic and keep away diseases. And she wrote Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook.
“I run the company Passion for Spices, which promotes a lifetime practice of eating healthy – telling the young and the old all over the country why we should change our food habits. But we must also enjoy food,” May says on a day she is in Kerala for a brief holiday, promoting her book. There are 140 recipes on it, spice-rich. “I want to showcase to the world the health benefits of these spices. Turmeric, for instance, has a substance in it called curcumin, which can help ease symptoms of arthritis. We have so much knowledge in Kerala that can prevent a lot of illnesses.” She is in fact training American chefs about spices at a culinary institute. And they are loving it, May says. The American Diabetes Association has endorsed the book.
Here, May shares two of her recipes from the book.
Spiced Turkey Meatballs
Ground turkey meat - 1 pound
Medium red onions - 3
Green chilies - 1 or 2
Fresh ginger root - 2 inches
Cilantro leaves - 5 sprigs
Worcestershire sauce - 1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice - 1 teaspoon
Kosher salt - 1 teaspoon
Safflower oil or any grilling oil - 2 tablespoons
Mince the onions, green chilies, ginger and the cilantro leaves in a food processor
Mix the rest of the ingredients with the minced vegetables and form them into medium size meat balls (smaller if for appetizers)
Steam the meat ballsin a bamboo basket or in a wide pan, till all the juices are absorbed
Pan fry the meat balls, sautee, bake or grill the meatballs in a little oil suitable for grilling
(If you are grilling, spray the grilling basket with oil or brush them with oil)
Classic Lobster Tandoori
Onion - 1 small piece
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ground ginger - 1/16 teaspoon
Ground cumin - 1 tablespoon
Ground coriander - 1 tablespoon
Smoked paprika - 1 tablespoon
Lime juice - 2 tablespoon
Plain low-fat Greek yogurt - 1/2 cup
Ground black pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
Ground turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 cup
Minced cilantro leaves - 2 tablespoon
Minced mint leaves - 1 tablespoon
Honey - 1 teaspoon
Live lobsters - 2
Sunflower oil or ghee - 1 teaspoon
To prepare the marinade, place all the ingredients in the tandoori masala in a blender and process until smooth
For the lobster, bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Place the live lobsters into the boiling water, cover tightly, and let cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the lobster tails are curled and the shells have turned bright red. With tongs, remove from the water and place in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking
Break off the claws. Separate the head from the tail. Remove the meat from the tail in one piece by cutting along the soft underside shell to expose the flesh. With the back of a knife, lightly crack the shells of the large claws and carefully remove the meat in one piece. Place the lobster tail and claw meat in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours.
To serve, preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place the marinated lobster meat on a baking sheet, brush with a oil and cook for about four minutes, until the meat is opaque white and the marinade is slightly browned.