A Guide To Cooking With Turmeric: The Aromatic And Earthy Spice
Wondering what turmeric is and how to cook with it? We’ve got you covered. Check out this guide for everything you need to know about this earthy and aromatic spice, along with our favourite vegan recipe championing turmeric that we know you’ll want to cook again and again.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a flowering plant that also goes by the name Curcuma longa, and is a not-so-distant relative of ginger. When we talk about turmeric for cooking and medicinal purposes, we’re referring to the plant’s nobbly, orange root.
As a spice, you might be more familiar with it in its powdered form. It’s a vibrant sunset yellow spice that’s native to South Asia and it’s sometimes referred to as the Indian saffron (read everything you need to know about the most expensive spice in the world here) as it makes everything it touches a glowing golden colour; including your clothes which is why it’s used as a natural fabric dye world-wide – you have been warned!
The health benefits of turmeric
For those in the know, turmeric root has a myriad of beneficial properties to help boost our brain and bodily powers. But this isn’t completely new information, in fact, it’s been used in traditional Indian medicine (as well as cooking) for thousands of years. It contains a compound called curcumin which is where it sources all its greatness from. It’s believed to help:
- Reduce inflammation
- Ease rheumatoid arthritis
- Promote brain neuron growth and slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease
- Boost our bodies’ antioxidant capacity
This last one means that our cells can be better equipped to block cancerous tumours and even heart disease. Other studies are showing the powers of curcumin from turmeric in protecting against stomach ulcers, high cholesterol and diabetes: leading us to question, is there anything turmeric can’t do?
Although you may not be able to fully access the benefits of curcumin from eating turmeric alone, eating it with fatty foods, black pepper or in supplement form (like these ones from Nature’s Best) could help your body to unlock its full potential.
Where to buy turmeric
As we already know, turmeric grows as a root and is generally ground down into a fine powder for cooking with – both options are widely available in most international food shops and major supermarkets too. In the latter, you’ll find the fresh version in the vegetable aisle between the ginger root and fresh chillies, and dried turmeric amongst the other jars, herbs and spices.
How to cook vegan dishes using turmeric
Turmeric can be a great earthy and aromatic addition to any of your favourite dishes, but here are a few of our top suggestions if you don’t know where to start:
- If you’d like to kick-start your turmeric-powered day, then what better way to do that than with a glass of Val’s recipe for vegan golden milk? It’s packed full with ginger, lemon juice, black pepper and maple syrup to keep your turmeric company
- Looking for a vegan lunch idea? Give our warming daal recipe a go, it’s perfect for a cosy night in, followed by some serious time relaxing on the sofa
- This recipe for Keralan sundown makes for a hearty dinner and an impressive working-from-home lunch the following day
- We recommend using liberal quantities of turmeric in these vegan breakfast tacos
By Fabian Jackson
Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.