There is this yellow spice! It is hard to really define the taste; everybody knows that it is yellow and that it is supposed to be something like a miracle remedy! Here, in the Asiatic latitudes, we are constantly confronted with this spice, here known as Turmeric, in Germany and other European countries more or less known as Kurkuma. Lately, also the West is starting to focus on this super spice that for the longest time has been known only in India and the rest of Asia and parts of Africa.
Now, what is really behind that myth?
Turmeric is a South Asian shrub plant, part of the ginger family, whose main ingredient is curcumin, which is being gained from the plant’s stem and which creates the yellow color.
Early studies of the turmeric show its strongly anti-inflammatory properties and a unique interaction with the cell membranes, which could lead to pharmacological therapies for many conditions.
The turmeric, which we use for the seasoning of our dishes, protect your heart, has anticarcinogene properties as it inhibits negative aggressive cell mutation plus is great for inflammations.
Its taste is slightly bitter and very intensive, this spice is often used in mustard preparations, curry powder mixtures, cheese and also as a dye for clothes. In Asia it is also applied as a paste directly to the skin for wound healing. Turmeric supports the digestion, calms the stomach, excessive use though can lead to indigestion. Attention: do not use Turmeric if you suffer from gallbladder conditions! These can be worsened through Turmeric.
As this spice only recently has been in the focus of our Western scientists, its effects in our body have not yet been completely discovered. We know though that it influences chemical processes in the cell membranes, bonding to the blood fat in a similar way as cholesterol. In low concentrations it has a great influence on the structure of the cell membrane, due to its anti-inflammatory properties it could also become a remedy for the pain of rheumatism and arthritis.
As with everything in life (or nearly everything....): savored in moderation, Turmeric is a healthy spice with very positive properties, which my darling husband since few years adds to nearly every dish. This does mean something!
Enough science! How do I use this Turmeric in my kitchen?
Generally, small dosages can be added to all colorful dishes with a dominant taste, where the yellow color does not have an unpleasant effect. On contrary to this, it can be used as a substitute for Saffron for coloring dishes as it costs a lot less; Saffron though is aromatic, whereas Turmeric has a rather earthy taste. It can be used in stir fries and curries, in tasty noodle soups and rich Thai coconut soups. Vegans can use Turmeric nicely in a „fake eggsalad“ using Tofu and adding Turmeric for the color. The healing effect comes as an Extra!