Image Source: Lentil Crusted Tofu with Awesome Dipping Sauce
If you want to protect yourself from a multitude of diseases, then please let us introduce you to turmeric. This spice is best known as the substance that gives many Indian dishes and ballpark mustard their yellow color. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and if you happen to see it in its fresh in the supermarket, it resembles ginger but with a darker brown tough outer skin and a deep orange inner flesh. However, it is most commonly sold in the spice aisle as a bright yellow powder. Turmeric has been used for centuries in Chinese and Indian medicine and is recently being recognized by conventional medicine for its healing powers.
While studies concerning the health benefits of turmeric are still premature, early evidence has linked turmeric to a slew of health benefits, most of which are based on its most active component, curcumin, the compound that also gives turmeric its yellow-orange color. Turmeric is full of powerful antioxidants, including curcumin, which are known to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Most research done on the health benefits of turmeric have been done using curcumin, not the whole turmeric root. While the studies are promising, more research, especially those using human subjects, need to be done. So far, what we do know is that turmeric is known to be anti-inflammatory, can help with managing pain, brain health support and liver detoxification, amongst other benefits. For tips on how to use turmeric in food, read more in this article.
Weary about using turmeric in your cooking? Give some of these delicious recipes containing turmeric a try.
1. Ayurvedic Oatmeal
Ingredients (serves two)
- 200 ml water
- 200 g (1 cup) pumpkin flesh, cut in small cubes
- 1-2 tbsp raisins
- 80 g oatmeal flakes
- 300 ml soy or any other vegan milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamon and/or 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2 cm of turmeric (curcuma) root, peeled and rasped, or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds or to taste
- Cover the pumpkin cubes and raisins with water and bring to boil. Cook on low heat for ten minutes.
- Add soy (or any other vegan) milk and bring to boil again.
- Add oatmeal flakes, cinnamon sticks, cardamon powder, and turmeric. Cook for another ten minutes.
- Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve.
Poha-Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles. The thickness of the flakes varies depending on the use. This breakfast preparation uses thick Poha, which can be bought from any Indian Store. Thick rice flakes or brown rice flakes can also be found in some local health stores or online stores. Get the recipe HERE.
3. Missy Roti
These golden yellow flatbreads called Missy Roti, are a traditional recipe from the North Indian state of Punjab). Warm and brushed with a fruity olive oil, just before serving in lieu of the clarified butter, you have a healthy and comforting treat that can be a complete meal with some Indian pickles or lentils depending on what you want to eat it with. Get the recipe HERE.
4. Curried Lentil Soup
Summer may not seem like the perfect time for a bowl of Curried Lentil Soup. That's because we typically think a hearty bowl of piping hot soup is more of a winter dish. Soup has become typecast! I'm challenging us to reconsider our preconceived notions and give soup another chance at becoming a summer staple. Get the recipe HERE.
5. Spicy Indian Sweet Potato
If you have never tried Indian flavors on sweet potato, please give it a shot. With minimal spices sweet potato flavor still shines through. Fiery green chilis are great against the soothing sweetness of these creamy root vegetables. I have retained the skin for its color and nutrition, used some simple Indian pantry staple spices and cooked it in low heat till well roasted and soft. Resulting dish tastes fabulous! Spicy, sweet and full of flavor. Get the recipe HERE.