Most of us are only familiar with turmeric as a cooking spice. Fresh and pure and as you’re cooking smells remarkably good. Turmeric profiles as a warm, bitter, black pepper-like flavor with an earthy, mustard-like aroma which presents a somewhat bitter flavor to foods. You’d be surprised of its many uses. As a powder it appears in canned beverages, baked and dairy products, rice, popcorn, sauces and gelatin. Exotic dishes are always fun to serve, using turmeric to spice them up. It first appeared in the US, recorded in the 1830’s edition of “The Virginian Housewife” cookbook featured first known recipes using turmeric.

The golden colored, strongly flavored, yellow-peppery spice addition is also a way to fend off common diseases, boost the cardiovascular system and heal wounds and bruises. Studies even show turmeric helping to lower cholesterol. It has significant anti-inflammatory dimensions and has been compared to those in Ibuprofen. Unlike, OTC drugs, it has no toxic effect on your body. It has been found to help mutate cancer cells before they spread to other areas and is beneficial in lowering cholesterol and help prevent heart diseases.

 

Besides being tasty, it is one of the main key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Used for 45,000 years Indian culture and Hindu religion saw turmeric as auspicious and sacred, and for centuries it’s coloring powdery material also was used to dye clothing and threads. It has many natural dimensions, famously has made a comeback to both food and medicine thanks to the health and nutrition communities it attracted. It’s importance goes beyond spice, translated to science, it is used to heal wounds and bruises and when made into a paste, applied to the skin, healing everything from chicken pox, small pox to blemishes and shingles.

The Recipes

~Tip of the week~Add the turmeric at the end of your cooking process as heat kills its benefits.

~This chicken is truly tasty and always fun to diddy-up…It will make a great addition to your menu rotation! Great way to introduce your taste buds to Turmeric.

Cinnamon Chicken

¾ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

¼ t. cinnamon

3 lbs. chicken parts

½ cup plain yogurt

1 cucumber, chopped

½ lemon, squeezed

½ t. turmeric

Directions:

1. Combine cinnamon, salt and pepper, and sprinkle on the chicken. (Broil or grill, not flip-flopping it while cooking, keeps your juices).

2. Meanwhile combine yogurt, cucumber, lemon and turmeric.

3. Serve with chicken as a cold dipping sauce and toasted Naan bread.

~A take on a new style BBQ sauce. Great with Salmon and Pork Chops too.

~Another great tasting sauce.

Turmeric BBQ Sauce

1 tbs. Garlic powder

2 t. turmeric

2 tbs. soy sauce

1/3 c. water

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients. Whisk to blend well. Marinate meats or poultry for 3-6 hours or overnight before cooking. Baste frequently while cooking.

~Couldn’t have Cinnamon Chicken without rice~A different but tasty approach to a side dish!

Apricot Turmeric Rice Pilaf

1 cup rice

½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Turmeric

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

2 cups water

1/3 cup chopped dried or fresh apricots (Yum!)

2 tbsp. oil (a preference, 2 tbsp. of butter would be delightful!)

Directions:

1. Heat oil (or butter) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and saute onion until soft.

2. Add rice, salt, turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon, stirring frequently and browning slightly, (you’re releasing your flavors), add water slowly, stir until boiling occurs again.

3. After boil resumes, reduce heat to low, cover pan to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Add apricots during last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir gently….

5. Remove from heat and keep covered for 15-20 minutes to absorb the water, allowing it to rest.

6. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!.

Scrappy Chef~~Happy Fooding! Happy Turmering!~~Keep your e-mails with support, funny banter, sentiments coming and recipes you need help with. We’ll tackle it each one of them. And if you have an idea or suggestion for the column, bring it on.

The e-mail is: [email protected] ~and the last words~”How you do anything is how you do everything.”~T. Harv Eker~

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