Tasty ways to use turmeric
Turmeric has a distinctive orange-yellow color and is used extensively in Indian and southeast Asian cuisines. Along with coriander and cumin, it helps gives Indian dishes like curries, dhal and pilaus their characteristic “curry” flavor. Turmeric is also used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern food to add flavor and color to stews, pilafs and soups.
Turmeric is one of the most heath-giving spices known to science. That’s because it’s rich in a special phytochemical compound called curcumin. Dozens of studies have been conducted on curcumin over the last 20 years, and it has been found to help suppress cancer tumor growth, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and it has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
Here are some tasty ways to use turmeric in your cooking:
Marinades: Ground turmeric gives our homemade tandoori spice blend its characteristic golden hue. Mixed with yogurt it makes a warming Indian marinade for Tandoori salmon skewers. The marinade not only adds lots of flavor, but keeps food juicy and tender as it’s grilled.
Curries and dhals: We love a good curry. From rich Cashew nut korma with shrimp and Lentil, pea and potato curry with their delicious and nutritious sauces, to delicately spiced Indonesian chicken curry, turmeric imparts a deep color and distinct flavor.
Indian-style pizza sauce: Who would have ever thought to use turmeric for pizza? Well maybe not for a classic Italian pizza, but when you add turmeric, along with cumin, coriander and garlic, to tomato paste, spread it over naan bread, and arrange shrimp, spinach, cottage cheese, onion and cilantro on top, you’ve got an Indian naan pizza.
Side dishes and salads: Simple vegetable sides and ordinary pasta, rice and potato salads take on an extra dimension of flavor when turmeric comes to the table. Aloo gobi is a classic vegetable dish from India that combines potato and cauliflower with onions, garlic, ginger and fragrant spices, including turmeric.
Rice dishes: There are many colorful, tasty Indian rice dishes that include turmeric such as pilau, biryiani, kedgeree, and Indian fried rice with shrimp. Just a pinch or two of turmeric added to plain rice as it cooks is enough to make a more interesting side dish for curries.
Noodle dishes: Here are a couple of our favorite noodle dishes that include turmeric. Singapore noodles uses a mixture of Chinese ingredients with Indian curry powder (which includes turmeric) to create a stir-fried noodle specialty of, you guessed it, Singapore. And laksa, a Malaysian noodle soup, has turmeric in the spicy broth which is soaked up by other ingredients, including vegetables and herbs.