Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ingredients for Food and Health: Therapeutic Turmeric

Since the beginning of Fall, I have been cooking lots of warm food using herbs from what's left of my garden and spices that work well with the changing weather. Signature autumn dishes that win high praise from our clients include Melange of Curried Root Vegetables, Chili Chicken, and Roasted Cauliflower Florets. A key ingredient in these signature dishes is turmeric, which in medieval times came to be knows as Indian Saffron, since it was widely used as a substitute for that far more expensive spice.

Scallop w/ Quinoa and Turmeric Infused Oil
 What got me thinking about turmeric is a video I recently saw about how certain foods have important therapeutic functions, and of course one of those is turmeric. In addition to the above dishes, turmeric marries well with omelets, seafood and roasted vegetables.

With the onset of cold weather, it's important to boost the body's defenses, and one of the best ways to do that is through diet. According to traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory. And in Vietnam, where I spent four years, new mothers are massaged with fresh turmeric paste to lessen the pain and often eat dishes containing turmeric to replenish nutrient loss.