The ingredients used in Indian cooking are exotic and turmeric is one such spice which not only adds the immensely appetizing yellow color to the Indian foods, but also acts as a disinfectant and stabilizer for the stomach.
Turmeric could be easily identified as the very “Indian” color. Known as Curcuma Longa, it’s a part of the ginger family. People of the Indian sub-continent are well-aware of turmeric, since it has been in use from ancient days in India, not only for its edibility and medicinal properties, but also for its use as a color for dyeing clothes. Cooking without turmeric is considered incomplete in many parts of India, as without it one will surely miss the color and taste of the “Indian” food.
Popularly known as Indian saffron, Turmeric is found in the parts of South-Asia and grows well in temperature ranging between 20 – 30 degrees Celsius, with a significant amount of rainfall. The usage of turmeric increased in the middle ages, since it started getting used as a substitute to the comparatively extremely expensive saffron. Even though it’s one of the major cooking ingredients in almost all the Asian recipes, the Western countries too are increasingly adopting it in their cuisine, due to its medicinal value.
Turmeric consists of an active component Curcumin, which is a very powerful substance that’s responsible for its strong yellow color and the pungent flavor., as well as its medicinal benefits. Talking about its medicinal benefits, the turmeric root is the most important, as it’s very useful to shed that extra amount of fat and cholesterol from your body. Curcumin has antioxidant, antibacterial and stomach comforting effects. This is one of the major reasons why many Indian households consume turmeric with milk at least once a day. Various scientific studies have established that one can derive added advantages from turmeric; e.g. researchers found turmeric as a cancer prevention herb. Majority of the doctors now recommend using this herb for preventing cancer and to act as a cover for those who might tend to have cancer.
Unknown fact: Usage of turmeric with cauliflower can prevent prostate cancer.
Turmeric is also used as an antiseptic for cuts and burns, healing of wounds and re-moisturizing skin. Usually a glass of warm milk with turmeric reduces pains of the muscles and bones immensely. It is also used for detoxifying liver and proves very helpful in preventing breast and prostate cancer. Turmeric also reduces the risk of leukemia and is believed to be a natural treatment for arthritis.
Fresh Turmeric Root is eaten raw or with jaggery in many parts of India, especially during winter, to keep oneself warm, keep one’s stomach free from ailments and increase appetite. In its grounded paste form, it’s used on face and arms to improve complexion of skin and keep it free from common skin ailments. As a result it’s a must-have ingredient for grooming the bride and the groom, and is also a symbolic custom of many Hindu weddings.
Turmeric is a tasty herb that enhances the flavor and aroma of your food by providing solace to your stomach. For all types of Indian recipes turmeric is used in its powdered form. For every Indian vegetarian, use of turmeric is a must, since the Curries – a major food for a majority of Indian natives – find the maximum usage of turmeric. In terms of non-vegetarian food, the usage of this spice is not limited. With its pungent smell and strong flavor Turmeric kills the odor of the raw flesh like chicken, mutton and beef, giving the dish an enhanced taste and aromatic flavor.
In Eastern parts of India, the usage of turmeric has been prevalent for a long period, and the principles of its proper usage have been passed down through the ages by our ancestors. The usage is almost uniform across all dishes prepared with potatoes. For meat and fish preparations, turmeric is preferred as the basic ingredient and always used it to its best effect.
As one moves more towards the north of the country, one can witness the extensive usage of turmeric as the taste of North Indian cuisine is very rich, and turmeric adds that rich aroma to any type of cuisine. Turmeric is also used in pickles, soups, milk, ice creams, bakery & desserts.
Being a part of the ginger family, turmeric tastes bitter; but its flavor and yellow color could add a whole new dimension to your recipes all the time, and proves medicinally beneficial too. You could keep eating whatever you want, but make sure it’s cooked with turmeric.
Therefore, the next time you’re prepared to cook something, add that little dash of color to your recipe with turmeric. The looks of your recipe and its nutritional values will never be the same again!
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