Turmeric spice can be easily included in your cooking. I show you how in this post.
Also, why is turmeric such a great spice, which one should you buy and a selection of recipes with turmeric to choose from.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a yellow-orange root that has been used as a spice in Indian and Asian cooking for centuries.
Turmeric is also known as Curcuma, Kurkuma in other western countries. The roots are called Haldi in the hindi language, in India, where it originated.
The root is moreover dried, ground and used in almost all Indian dishes in India.
Yep, turmeric is good for you and it has great health benefits!
The root has been popularized in the past 10 years all over the western world because it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
People like my mother take in turmeric capsules and tabs on a daily basis because the curcumin properties can reduce joint inflammation and help skin health.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in India in food and as a cosmetic. In fact, I can totally recommend Turmeric soap bars (from Khadi, Medimix or Himalaya)!
I had a German-Italian friend of my age who was born in Goa, and she would mix small quantities of milk with turmeric spice powder to create a paste to treat her face skin breakouts.
Yet the most common and best way to use turmeric is in your food!
Turmeric compliments and combines well with the following spices:
- black pepper - main course meals, soups, salads. Pepper helps to absorb the curcumin in turmeric.
- red chili pepper - frequent addition in Asian and North African meals
- ginger - teas, soups
- cumin - Indian food
- coriander powder - Indian food
- garlic - main course meals, soups, salads
That said, most Indian dishes use turmeric with all the mentioned spices. The result is a well-flavored and complex dish.
Turmeric Recipe Uses
Ever wondered how you can incorporate this amazing spice into your daily food?
I was super intimidated when I was introduced to turmeric more than 12 years ago.
Today I use turmeric all the time and I love the bright colors and flavors it gives my food and my mood!
Here are some of the best, no-nonsense, ways for you to use your yellow turmeric spice.
Look out for ground turmeric and if possible get organic high-quality turmeric.
I like to use and recommend turmeric from Conscious food.
You can get those packaged raw turmeric roots, which made an appearance in grocery stores in America and Europe, but most probably you won't really use it much.
Raw turmeric doesn't get moldy and bad that fast compared to ginger but it's still a waste if it's lying around in your fridge over a longer period of time.
Most dishes call for dried turmeric powder as a seasoning spice and to be honest, Indian households nowadays use dried turmeric in their daily cooking.
So go for dried ground turmeric if you are trying to incorporate this spice more into your daily food preparation.
If you are totally into turmeric and you use it frequently in your cooking, I recommend you use fresh turmeric.
Fresh turmeric is not as strong (and bitter) and is great in sweets too.
I just wanted to add my experience with growing turmeric too.
Turmeric grows wild in India, a tropical and subtropical country close to the equator.
We grew our first successful batch in Goa, India during the rainy season in our tropical garden.
The soil wasn't the best of mud but the turmeric plant mainly grew out of a piece of fresh turmeric when we had forgotten about it.
We had planted a piece in February, which was almost the end of the winter season.
The root only sprouted beginning July when the rainy season started.
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We had watered it for months but nothing ever grew. It only came to live with the rainy season. That means the rainy season is the turmeric season.
The cycle continued the same way every year for more than 6 years.
The roots sprout, the leaves grow out and by the end of October or whenever the rainy season ends, the leaves die-off.
The turmeric plant needs tropical warm weather to thrive and plenty of monsoon rain. We tried growing it in Europe and we failed.
You can try to grow turmeric from a fresh raw root by planting it into a pot but I only recommend this when you live ina warm climate.
Turmeric tastes pungent, bitter and kind of like sawdust if you have ever tasted sawdust. 😋
Turmeric is a dried root that is ground and used as a plain yellow spice. Curry Powder is a blend of spices, which also includes ground turmeric spice. Saffron is the flower bud thread from the crocus flower and it's also a spice that adds a yellow color to your food.
Curcumin is a raw compound that can be found in turmeric.
The leaves can be used in curries but we personally haven't tried it. Hindu houses might be using the leaves in a stir fry in Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. The main use for the leaves in Goa is to wrap the turmeric leaves around a sweet steamed rice dessert called Patoyo. The rice dessert takes in the spiced flavors of the leaves, which tastes amazing!