We at Banana Tree know what it’s like to have had a draining holiday period – after all, in Indochina every excuse for a party is taken! But the party’s over for another year, and you’re probably already getting back on track for a healthy lifestyle – and that’s what January is all about. In Indochina, we know something about the health benefits of diet as well – our distinctive combinations of herbs and spices don’t just make for delicious dishes, they also have medical uses which can go back centuries. So if you’re currently struggling through a January detox, cast a glance towards our tasty and healthy cuisine for some tips on how you can go back to feeling fantastic.
Ginger is ubiquitous in Asian cuisine, and is widespread in Indochina in particular. Though the ginger plant itself grows as tall as three feet, it’s only when the plant dies that the root can be dug up and used in cooking.
Ginger aids in digestion and reduces nausea and sickness – ideal for any lingering hangovers right after New Year’s Eve. In Asia we’ve been using ginger medicinally for centuries, and now in the West it is often used as a traditional remedy for nausea.
You can chew ginger raw to ward off nausea, or if you’d prefer, enjoy it in some delicious tamarind spicy aubergine or Classic Rendang.
Turmeric is the root of the Curcuma longa plant. Although the Curcuma longa is brown in colour, turmeric is a vivid yellow-orange.
Turmeric boosts the immune system to beat infections – so if you’re wrestling with a persistent January cold, turmeric is the way to go.
In fact, turmeric is reputed to have a wide range of medicinal uses – it could even fight cancer or lower the risk of heart disease!
Peppery and bitter in taste, it’s sure to warm you up alongside lemongrass and cashew in a tasty stir fry.
The leaves of the wild kaffir lime tree, lime leaves are used to give a distinctive, citrusy flavour to Indochinese dishes.
They’re especially healthy when served in a tea – lime leaves are good for soothing nerves, fighting off colds and helping digestion. Lime leaves are also an excellent source of flavonoids, which are great antioxidants.
If you’re feeling like something more hearty than sipping a soothing lime tea, lime leaves make a great accompaniment to a roast duck curry or a Gaeng Keow Wan green curry.
Mint is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, so it’s perfect way to get healthy after you’ve spent Christmas munching on pigs in blankets.
Its sweet, mellow taste is great for keeping fresh after that lethargic holiday period. Mint goes great with some of our double cooked crispy pork, and works wonders in an aromatic pho.
When you’re trying to be healthy, eating out can be tricky – but here at Banana Tree, we know that the food of Indochina doesn’t just taste great, it’s good for us, too. So if you’re still groggy from the holidays, come on down to your favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Soho for some delicious food that will help you stay on the right course for a healthier life. With a little help from our Indochinese cuisine, you’ll find staying healthy in January is easier and more enjoyable than you think!