Recently, I had a conversation with an Uber driver on the way back to my studio about how fascinating simple spices can be, one of which is turmeric. I recalled in that conversation my first visit to the Island of Bali during my time living in Asia. It was there that I met a masseuse who made a hot turmeric-ginger tea for me, with turmeric and lemongrass out of her garden, right after a soothing massage.
This blog is inspired by a moment in time that reflects on the simple yet profound pleasures that come with turmeric. Turmeric is a spice that was widely known in Medieval times as "Indian Saffron" and was used as a replacement for saffron itself (saffron is expensive compared to turmeric).
In addition to its uniquely robust taste, Turmeric has many nurturing and pure anti-inflammatory properties. It's saffron-orange color comes from a plant compound called curcumin, which has properties that are protective for our immune system and reduce the risk of cancer. It comes in root form as well as capsules to take as a daily vitamin.
In previous blog I've mentioned how in Vietnam, where I've spent 4 years, turmeric plays an important role in their lives of those suffering from arthritis, since turmeric antioxidants reduce pain and inflammation and replenish nutrient loss. Since the beginning of fall, I integrate turmeric into several of my signature dishes. The dishes win high praise from our clients and include our Melange of Curried Root vegetables, Chilli Chicken and Roasted Cauliflower Florets.
As warmer weather is approaching, cold turmeric ice tea with lemon verbena is an ideal drink. Fresh turmeric easily available in your local markets. No need to take powder or old tablets sitting on your shelf for a while. Simply process the root in a cuisine art and freeze it by storing in ice cube trays and pop it in bag.
For further reference on turmeric, here is a video I recently saw about how certain foods have important therapeutic functions. In addition on the above dishes, turmeric marries well with omelettes, seafood and roasted vegetables.
1 cup (250ml) almond milk
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 - 3 tsp agave nectar or honey
1 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 crushed cardamom
1/2 clove and pinch of cayenne pepper
Blend all the ingredients in a blender (this is only optional - if you don't want to grate turmeric and ginger) or simply mix together in a saucepan.
Simmer ingredients on the stove gently for 10 minutes.
Strain and drink! Add ice cubes if desired.