Turmeric beyond curries

The good old turmeric is a staple in every Indian's kitchen. Here's how you can exploit its goodness...

Turmeric's key ingredient, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

While the world has gotten up and suddenly taken notice of this amazing Indian spice called turmeric, it surprises me how little we know about our own desi ingredient. However, since childhood, we have seen turmeric in almost all our curries, in fact, the ubiquitous yellow-red curries have been the main colour on our plates.

When the era of health buffs started, we realised that turmeric is a wonder spice. Its key ingredient, curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Turmeric has been renowned for its disease-fighting capabilities since ages. But when it comes to its usage, how many of you remember turmeric being used exclusively for a meal or a dish? Let’s go down the memory lane and jog our memories. 

Do you remember the haldi doodh (golden turmeric milk) your grandfathers used to have every night? Time & again, we have been told that freshly ground raw turmeric added to milk heals the body from within and keeps us safe from infections. Turmeric would also be the cure for cuts and bruises. But antibiotics soon took over and haldi doodh went into oblivion. In 2010, westerners discovered the magic of golden milk in the form of turmeric latte, a coffee-ish version of our good ol’ haldi doodh. Starbucks put it on its menu and now it’s the hottest health drink on the fitness circuit.

Another turmeric-related thing you would definitely remember is the practice of eating a spoonful of haldi and honey. It was the go-to cure of grandmothers for anyone with a cold or a sore throat. Today, many companies are selling exactly this: turmeric-infused honey. Also, many confectionary companies are dishing out turmeric-filled toffees, too.

Indians love their pickles and chutneys and we need to have them with every meal. For the health aficionados, nutrition companies have come up with a unique way of satisfying our spice-loving taste buds and at the same time, providing health and nutrition in equal measure — raw turmeric pickles and chutneys.

For those short on time, some nutraceutical companies are offering curcumin extracts in the form of tablets, too. Although the health buff in me says that you need to go back to your grandmom’s ways and have haldi doodh every night before sleeping. After all, turmeric is a wonder spice!

RECIPES

Raw turmeric & ginger pickle

Ingredients:

Raw Turmeric – finely chopped – ½ cup

Ginger – finely chopped – ½ cup

Green chillies – finely chopped – 2

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Method: Mix all the ingredients well. Let the flavours mingle for around 15 minutes. The pickle is ready! This goes well with plain khichadi or curd rice. Store the pickle in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated. Consume within a week.

Turmeric milk or shall we call it turmeric latte?

Turmeric milk
Turmeric milk

Ingredients:

Milk – 1 cup

Water – ¼ cup

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Pepper powder – 3/4 tsp

Sugar / Honey – to taste

Method: In a pan, boil water with the turmeric powder and pepper powder till the water has almost evaporated. Pour the milk and bring it to a boil. Add sugar/honey to suit your taste. This is a powerful infection fighter!

(The author is founder, Nutty Yogi)

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