Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Turmeric - Absolutely To Dye For

By Alana Sugar, March 1, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Tumeric When I was in my early 20s, I spent a year living in a small village near Bombay (now Mumbai), India. I learned a lot that year! One of the things I found so interesting was the culinary use of medicinal spices and the precise understanding of the uses of these spices for healing. Food is medicine - that was a given! I'll always remember that when someone caught a cold, they were given hot milk (often Buffalo milk) with a small spoonful of turmeric stirred in.

Turmeric, an herb from the ginger family, is a powerful antioxidant and supports healthy inflammation. It's been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic Indian medicine for centuries. The benefits of turmeric come from curcumin, the active constituent, which appears to have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, including protection from free radical damage and promoting healthy inflammatory response in the body. It also helps protect the liver and may help to improve circulation and promote healthy blood vessels and circulation.

If you like curry, you are already familiar with turmeric's sharp and earthy flavor. Turmeric tastes pleasantly spicy - suitable for vegetables, meat, seafood and even fruit-based desserts. A little goes a long way, though, and the flavor gets stronger as it cooks. Turmeric's dark yellow, almost orange color will strongly tint anything you add it to - a wonderfully natural food dye. Here are some ways I've used turmeric, just remember that the color of your dish will change!

  • Moroccan Braised Lamb and EggplantAdd 1/4 teaspoon to a pot of grain while cooking. Best bets: brown rice, Basmati rice, quinoa or millet
  • Stir 1/2 to 1 teaspoon into a pot of soup
  • Add a dash to your favorite guacamole
  • Add a healthy pinch to a container of hummus
  • Mix a little into bean spreads for sandwiches
  • Stir fry veggies such as broccoli, onion, carrots and sweet peppers, and add a pinch of turmeric along with some ginger, garlic and tamari
  • Stir a dash into yogurt
  • Make a banana smoothie truly yellow by adding a pinch of turmeric
  • Make salad dressing and add a pinch, or add it to your favorite bottled dressing

You'll find turmeric used abundantly in Eastern and Middle Eastern dishes as a seasoning and a condiment, and for obvious reasons, a culinary dye! You'll also find it used in plenty of our own delicious recipes. Here are some to whet your appetite:

Are you familiar with turmeric? Got a favorite recipe? I'd love to hear your experiences.

 

39 Comments

Comments

Anonymous says ...
I watched an episode of Oprah with Dr. Oz and he said turmeric must be combined with black pepper in oroder to gain (or gain the maximum...I don't remember which) health benefits of turmeric so make sure to add a few shakes of pepper to those dishes with turmeric too.
03/01/2010 9:59:26 AM CST
Anonymous says ...
I make a tumeric tea with a bit of honey!
03/01/2010 11:23:59 AM CST
Sarah says ...
I take turkey cut it into strips and make my own oven fried turkey strips that my kids go crazy for. take 2 plates and 1 bowl. in the bowl take an egg and scramble it, in one plate put some flour, in the other plate put bread crumbs, in both the flour and bread crumbs put granulated garlic to taste, a TBLS of tumeric, black pepper to taste, salt if desired, and 2 teaspoons of thyme. take the strips and toss them in the flour shake off, toss in the egg, then put in the bread crumbs, put on a tray and put it in the oven and bake.
03/01/2010 11:57:12 AM CST
Rhonda Gendron Murphy says ...
I grew up with it and with lots of curries, we made our own blend of curry powder, and we always used the fresh turmeric root, not the powder, to make a wonderful vegetable, or fish, or chiken curry with coconut cream.. eggplant curry with boiled eggs is so good too..
03/01/2010 11:58:59 AM CST
Jennifer McKinley says ...
I posted this to the article on facebook but thought it necessary to mention that Turmeric should be avoided by those that have gallstones or exhibit symptoms of gallstones. Having just completed courses as a Nutritional Consultant and Master Herbalist working toward a degree to become a Naturopath, this point was strongly emphasized in our course materials.
03/01/2010 11:59:38 AM CST
ben nguyen says ...
I actually take turmeric via supplements more than I do cooking with it! But I'm curious if anyone has ever used red yeast rice? I'd like to substitute my normal rice with red yeast rice, but ironically I can ONLY find it sold as a supplement and not rice!
03/01/2010 12:04:47 PM CST
Michael says ...
Besides the unique taste of turmeric it has a multitude of health benefits, here is a linkhttp://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html I have eaten 1 lbs of turmeric this year, I add 1/2 tsp with organic veggie juice every morning and mix stir 1/2 tsp with my vegan supper in either salad dressing or a main dish. This is truly a unique,powerful spice and I strongly recommend daily use. When I travel I take a bottle with me.
03/01/2010 12:46:30 PM CST
Bill says ...
I have been taking Turmeric as a supplement for about 6 months. I also use it in family recipes as well so my kids get the benefits too. It works REAL well in Mac & Cheese and really gives it that nice orange color, sprinkled with some paprika makes a very nice presentation.
03/01/2010 1:06:26 PM CST
hattie says ...
I use turmeric on my 8 yr old daughters skin if she gets a boil. Mix with a little bit of water to make a paste, then apply and cover with gauze. Also, take internally at the same time and it works wonders. It's gone and healing within 2 days!
03/01/2010 1:23:13 PM CST
Mary Fitzpatrick says ...
I too spent a year in India. Chicken Tandoori is my favorite dish. I have modified the recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a 13 X 9 pan. Top it with Curry Tree's Gluten Free Tandoori Mix mixed in 8 oz. Blue Mountain Bulgarian yogurt. Sprinkle liberally with Penzy's Tumeric Root. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for one hour. Makes a lovely sauce for topping rice. Chicken even better second day. Tumeric is also good for stimulating memory recall and great for the metabolism. And for anyone receiving chemotherapy, it is a helpful appetite stimulant. And one of the few spices with a kick for anyone with roseacia as usually spicey foods are off limit.
03/01/2010 1:50:07 PM CST
Ariel says ...
Indian food is both delicious and healthy. Turmeric is only one of the many medicinal spices used in Indian cooking. You'll be delighted to find that this spice is found in all of Sukhi's Gourmet Indian Foods' cooking sauces, which are sold at Whole Foods nationwide. I love to cook with these sauces, as they cut down the prep time for dinner and they are good for you. They are friendly to vegetarians and vegans as well.
03/01/2010 6:05:46 PM CST
tigerfish says ...
Have got many favorite recipes with turmeric and I am loving it more and more each day. Now I even add it to Chinese Chicken Soup and end of the day, I do not know if I have killed any Chinese roots to a dish. But definitely, it taste good and I know it has benefits.
03/02/2010 2:02:28 AM CST
pwildflowers says ...
marinate your seafood (any freash water or salt water fish, shrimp, crab meat) with turmaric , salt and lemon juice. Turmaric kills bacteria.. I am from eastern India, our staple food is fish and rice. We use this presious spice everyday.
03/03/2010 4:19:17 PM CST
andy says ...
Turmeric/Yogurt Sauce I like to add curry containing turmeric to yogurt. It's usually already in curry powder and gives the curry it's distinctive rich golden yellow color. It's good on veggie burgers and also add it to the sunflower seed-lentil peanut burgers I make w/ veggie pulp from a juicer. It's also good in lentils, eggs, in stews and added to any rice dish. The taste is a deep earthy one, not too hot, but in curry the other spices are usually hot.
03/03/2010 10:28:43 PM CST
Sarika Jain says ...
A wonderful and effective cure for cough:- In 1 1/2 tsp of honey mix 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Eat it little by little, twice a day. Don't drink or eat anything right after it. Give it about 15 min. You will feel immediate effect/ relief. Best in the morning after breakfast and at night before going to bed. I do it with my family and works really well.
03/04/2010 7:24:02 AM CST
Anonymous says ...
Tumeric is also an essential ingredient for vegan egg salad. Easy recipe with video found here: chooseveg.com/eggless-egg-salad.asp
03/04/2010 2:28:12 PM CST
Debbie B says ...
Tumeric + Curry + Paprika + Pepper is GREAT when added to eggs. We have this every morning with LOADS of fresh cooked vegetables added to it. A fast and easy way to start the day with loads of medicinal goodness
03/04/2010 3:50:37 PM CST
Ann K. says ...
Grilled Turmeric Chicken, aka, Choo Choo Train Chicken One whole chicken 1/2 cup of coconut milk 2 teaspoons Turmeric powder 1/4 cup Seasoning Soy Sauce (preferrably Golden Mountain) 1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder (or 2 mashed coriander roots) 1 teaspoon Garlic powder (or finely chopped fresh garlic) 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Mix the ingredients in a cup and pour over the cleaned whole or cut up chicken. Marinade the chicken over night or at least 3 hours. Grill on low until done, about 1 hour. Eat with Thai sticky rice and papaya salad
03/04/2010 4:32:23 PM CST
Mary-Jeanine says ...
My sister bought a jar of tumeric spice at a health store and fills empty vitamin capsules with the powder. This instead of buying expensive tumeric supplements. I'm wondering if the quality of the homemade capsules rivals the store-bought supplements. Any idea?
03/04/2010 6:32:54 PM CST
Cindy says ...
My kids just love chicken legs, baked with a lot of tumeric, honey, salt and pepper---sometimes I add a final sprinkle of cinnamon before baking. A great color AND flavor. ENJOY!
03/05/2010 3:42:22 PM CST
Erin says ...
Turmeric makes tofu scramble look fabulous! Used liberally, it's very beautiful and tasty, too. I add it to almost every dish that starts with vegetables sautéd in a pan. Spread it onto a head of cauliflower along with fresh ground pepper, salt, cumin, and basil before roasting for about 40min. in a 350 oven to get a very meaty, savory vegetable for soups, or a great side on its own. Yummy!
03/08/2010 5:24:12 PM CST
Jay says ...
Turmeric is also a natural to add to egg dishes. Scrambled, omelets, frittatas, Spanish tortillas, etc It's a good way to get more turmeric into your diet.
03/11/2010 9:50:44 AM CST
Monique says ...
There seems to be a convergence of all things "tumeric". On March 4th, I featured this recipe for Al Dente Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, at the Whole Foods, Chicago South Loop store.I always add turmeric to my cauliflower and share with the audience that "it is supposedly good for the memory". My friend, and assistant at the class, having just returned from India, said that she learned that turmeric is also good for digestion. To top it all off, this recipe is an all-time favorite. I will post it on my blog: www.aldentecanoodler.com, but here it is if you would like to share it or try it. Al Dente Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower • 12 ounces Al Dente Pasta (Whole Wheat with Flax) • 1 tsp.coarse salt • fresh, ground pepper • 1 tsp. turmeric • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cored and broken into small florets • 1 large red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal • 1/4 cup olive oil • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped • Optional garnishes. Toasted pinenuts or almonds, fresh lemon juice and zest, toasted bread crumbs. Directions 1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower sprinkled with turmeric, and onion and carrots and olive oil. Season liberally with salt. (vegetables need to be single layer, so use more than one baking dish if need be). Roast until lightly browned and tender, approx.20 minutes, tossing once. 2. Cook pasta in boiling water for 3 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Add cauliflower mixture, Parmesan, and reserved water. Serve topped with more Parmesan and Parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
03/12/2010 9:52:32 AM CST
molcam says ...
I was watching a PBS episode of choosing a healthy and natural diet benefits. The researcher stated turmeric is also a helpful for those suffering with depression.
04/08/2010 8:13:05 AM CDT
adguypa says ...
I was taking tumeric in capsule form to help my back, hip and leg pain as recommended by a woman who works at Whole Foods. It did help with the pain, I think, but I noticed that it helped diminish the large and many floaters in my eyes! I have since researched online the benefits of tumeric and some believe it does help with those annoying floaters. They say there's no help for floaters except risky surgery but tumeric helped me. Going to get more! Hope this helps others as well. Pls. let me know. Thanks!
05/20/2011 1:59:23 PM CDT

Pages