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How To Use Turmeric

Updated on February 1, 2012

Exotic Indian Foods Offer Many Benefits!

Title: India - Sights & Culture ~ License: Attribution License ~ Photographer: McKay Savage
Title: India - Sights & Culture ~ License: Attribution License ~ Photographer: McKay Savage

Turmeric Powder is a Milder Alternative to Curry Powder

Everyone knows that Indian dishes are spicy, aromatic and delicious. This is owing in great part to the use of curry powder. What you may not know is that curry powder is not really an Indian native and that one of the main components of curry powder is turmeric - a tremendous health tonic that can brighten your life in many ways. Turmeric is also a great alternative to curry powder for folks who just don’t like things hot and spicy.

Curry powder was invented by the British when they governed India. They created it because they wanted to be able to introduce Indian cuisine to Britain, but they did not want to have to tote dozens of individual spices back home to do it. The Indians used many different spices that they blended while cooking to create the hot, spicy curry sauces the British so admired. In fact, often more than a dozen individual spices were used. The authentic curries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and various Southeast Asian countries vary broadly in flavor. Some are very hot. Some are very sweet.

The curry powders you will find on your grocers' shelves are fairly uniform in flavor. They contain a pretty standard blend of spices that may include fresh curry leaves, turmeric, cardamom fenugreek, red peppers, saffron, nutmeg, cloves, mace and paprika. Each of these spices has some medicinal value. This makes curry a very healthy ingredient to add to your diet. However, you may be interested to know that, of all the spices included in curry powder, turmeric is the most valuable health-wise.

Turmeric has been used in Indian and Asian traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of ills for many centuries. It has tremendous antioxidant value and has been proven to help prevent cancer and even fight established cancer cell growth. Studies have shown that turmeric helps break down the plaque build-up that causes many of the symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, adding turmeric to the diet boosts the metabolism and aids in weight loss.

It is so easy to add curry or turmeric to your diet. If the taste of curry powder is too hot and spicy for you, try turmeric powder. It can be used in any recipe that calls for curry powder, but it has a milder flavor. It can also be added to many of your favorite recipes with healthy, delicious results. Just by adding a spoonful of turmeric powder to the foods you are already used to cooking, you can bring tremendous health benefits to yourself and your family - and get a bit of a reputation as a creative and talented cook!

Here are a few quick and easy ways to add turmeric powder to your everyday food plan!

  1. Use turmeric as a general spice. Keep a shaker of it on your table next to your salt and pepper shakers. Sprinkle it over salads, French fries, eggs, or just about anything else. Use your imagination!
  2. Add turmeric to any egg recipe. It adds color, flavor, and health to omelets, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, and even fried or poached eggs. Just sprinkle a bit over the yolk while the egg is cooking.
  3. Add turmeric to milk beverages. You can blend it gently with chilled buttermilk to help soothe an upset stomach or even treat an ulcer - or just for the flavor of it if you enjoy that! You can also add a half teaspoon of turmeric, some cinnamon, and a bit of honey to warm milk at bedtime for a good night's sleep.
  4. Turmeric is wonderful with any meat. It can be used to spice poultry, lamb, mutton, pork or beef. Add it to any spice mix you normally use or use it alone as you would any other meat spice.
  5. Turmeric is excellent added to any vegetable while cooking. It is especially good with cauliflower, cabbage and other pale vegetables because it adds a little color as well as a flavor kick. It is a very attractive enhancement for yellow and orange vegetables like squash and carrots.
  6. Add turmeric to pasta for flavor and color. You can toss it with olive oil, garlic and onions, and your favorite pasta. Shake a bit into the water when you make Ramen noodles, or sprinkle it over homemade macaroni and cheese to enhance the flavor, give it a color boost, and add health benefits to a favorite comfort food.
  7. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to any grain while it is cooking - even oatmeal! It is delicious with rice, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat, bran - any grain at all. Be sure to add a teaspoon of butter or non-hydrogenated oil to bring out the flavor and health benefits even more.
  8. Beans, lentils, soup, and sauces of all kinds will benefit from a teaspoon of turmeric added during cooking.
  9. If you can find the fresh root, it can be steeped to make tea.
  10. Eat more plain old mustard! I compared the ingredients in mustards at the supermarket recently. I found that the least expensive, yellow, ball-park mustard is made of vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, and paprika. The more expensive brand contained several chemicals and food coloring, but no turmeric!

Copyright: SuzanneBennett: October 8, 2009


Submit a Comment

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    Great! I'm glad you found it helpful, Jennifer! :)

  • MJennifer profile image

    Marcy J. Miller 4 years ago from Arizona

    I'm so glad I came across this while browsing your hubs. I've been trying to add more turmeric to my own diet, but was quite limited in my efforts. I do regularly add it to my sweet potato salad, squash, egg salad and deviled eggs, and anything that is spicy -- and I use mustard on a regular basis -- but I didn't think of many of your suggestions. I have to say that keeping a shaker of it on hand to sprinkle on whatever is on the plate is ingenious. This hub was exactly what I was looking for. Great job.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! I like turmeric in rice and always add it during cooking. Otherwise, I prefer to have it in curry, which I use in almost everything! :) Thanks for reading, commenting and voting. :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    We have started using more turmeric in our diets of late. One time when roasting vegetables in the oven I added some Turmeric to the other seasonings and it stained my baking pan with a yellow tint. From that point on I simply line the pan with foil that can be washed afterwards and recycled if using Turmeric. Some restaurants substitute it in place of the more expensive saffron when using it in rice dishes. Good to know of all of the health benefits and many ways to incorporate it into our diets. Up and useful votes.

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Liam! :)

  • LiamBean profile image

    LiamBean 4 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    Well, there's another spice I need to make sure is in my pantry. Thanks for all the great health information. Clearly this is a "must have."

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    If you take too much, it can cause stomach discomfort, ulcers and nausea. Interestingly, it can also treat this type of symptom but must be used sparingly. I choose to cook with curry to get my turmeric. When you do that, you avoid turmeric overload on your stomach.

  • advice2give profile image

    advice2give 5 years ago

    I too have just recently taken an interest in using turmeric but have chosen to try it in supplement form. It has only been 3 days since I started taking it. Are there any side effects that turmeric can cause? Thanks for the info!

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! Yes, it's easy to add turmeric to all kinds of things. I prefer curry powder and use it instead. The other spices found in curry powder are also quite beneficial. :)

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

    I just picked up some tumeric because I had heard it was very beneficial to your health so I am glad you posted this hub. I was looking for other ways to get it into our diet and your tips are simple enough to follow. My husband likes to drink warm milk at night so I may have to try the drink with cinnamon as you suggested. Great hub topic!

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thank you! :)

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

    An Egyptian friend got me hooked on turmeric. She thinks its best with pepper. Delightful hub

  • justmesuzanne profile image

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, iruvanti! That's great information! :)

    Glad I could help, bluebird! :)

  • bluebird profile image

    bluebird 5 years ago

    Lots of good ways to use tumeric. I've cooked with it but now have more ideas. Nice hub. Thanks!

  • iruvanti profile image

    iruvanti 5 years ago from U.S.A

    You're right.Curry powder is never used by Indians. What we use is a blend of different spices called masala powder. Each curry has its own masala powder.