Most people are familiar with turmeric as a spice, one which gives both mustard and many curries their distinctive bright yellow coloring. Turmeric comes from the plant Curcuma longa, a tropical plant in the ginger family, native to South Asia. The turmeric spice is made from the rhizome, or rootstock, by drying the orange-colored tubers and then grinding them into fine powder. Turmeric powder has a bitter but slightly sweet taste and mustard-like aroma.
Due to it’s vibrant yellow color, turmeric is also known as “Indian saffron”. In North India, turmeric is commonly called “haldi,” a word derived from the Sanskrit word haridra, and in South India it is known as “manjal”.
Turmeric is one of the most beneficial things you can consume, fighting everything from inflammation to cancer, and promoting a healthy digestive system, skin, and so much more. To derive maximum benefits, it’s good to consume a small amount of turmeric on its own as a daily regimen, ideally along with a small amount of neem and also black pepper, which aids turmeric absorption.
However, in addition, turmeric can also be a healthy and tasty part of your daily meals, adding a delightful sunny color and a unique flavor to everything from your breakfast spread to your evening dessert. Here’s a few recipes to inspire your turmeric taste buds!
Turmeric Tip – Remember, turmeric stains, so keep it away from clothing and your favorite dishtowels!
Sfouf Turmeric Cake
Sfouf is a popular Lebanese treat characterized by it’s cheerful color and dense, moist texture. The cake is traditionally cut into squares or diamond shapes before serving, hence the name “Sfouf”, meaning “rows” in Arabic. You can serve it plain, enjoy with your favorite herbal tea, or even top it with honey or jam.
- 2 cups semolina
- 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup sunflower oil, or oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped pine nuts or shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine semolina, flour, turmeric and baking powder. Stir to combine well. In a separate bowl combine oil, tahini, sugar, milk, and water. Add to dry ingredients and stir to make a thick batter. Pour batter into greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with nuts of your choice.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and/or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before enjoying.
Tex-Mex Turmeric Tofu Scramble
Tofu scramble is great breakfast alternative to eggs – but tofu’s plain, pale color can make it a bit unpalatable. In this recipe, turmeric serves double-duty by replicating the sunny morning color of scrambled eggs, while adding an extra kick to the flavor of often-bland tofu.
- 1 16-ounce package firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper (from 1 small pepper)
- 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste at the end
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- 1 sliced avocado, for serving
Remove the tofu from its package and place it on a plate lined with paper towels (or a dry, clean dish towel). Cover in another layer of paper towels and press and blot well to remove excess moisture. Place in a medium bowl and mash with a fork to achieve a crumbly consistency.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the coriander, cumin, pepper and salt and cook until just incorporated and fragrant, 1 minute or so. Stir in the mashed tofu and the turmeric, along with the tomatoes, and cook until the mixture is warmed completely, 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt if you’d like. Garnish with cilantro and sliced avocado.
Golden Turmeric Tea
A warm and soothing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant tea. This tea gets bonus points for effectiveness as it includes both black pepper and coconut oil – the piperine in pepper and the fat in the coconut oil help your body absorb the beneficial spice.
- 4 cups boiling water
- ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, thinly sliced (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 5 peppercorns, whole
- 1½ tablespoons honey
When water reaches boil, remove from heat and add turmeric, ginger and peppercorns. Allow to steep for a few minutes, then add honey, coconut oil and lemon juice. Enjoy.
Strawberry Orange Turmeric Smoothie
Turmeric in a fruit smoothie might sound a little crazy. However, adding a pinch of the spice provides a pop of color and an extra health boost, without sacrificing taste. Try adding turmeric to your current favorite smoothie, or use the recipe below which is perfect for summer.
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (or 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric)
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup orange juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend for about 1 minute on high speed, stirring once during blending if necessary, until the beverage is creamy and frothy.
A note on using fresh turmeric: 1 inch fresh turmeric = 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
A South Indian classic, lemon rice brightens up any plate and pairs well with almost any pickle, chutney, vegetable dish or curry you feel like mixing up.
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp urad dal (split black lentils)
- 1 tsp chana dal (split bengal gram)
- 5 to 6 curry leaves
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
Heat the oil in a broad non-stick pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the urad dal, chana dal, and curry leaves and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute. Add the ginger and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds. Add the turmeric powder and rice, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and salt, mixing well.
Turmeric and Neem Powder now available from Isha Shoppe USA – Order now!
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