By Lee Holmes
There are numerous spices and herbs in the world and one of my favourites, turmeric, certainly holds the title crown of Mother Nature’s most perfect all-rounder.
A deep orange plant displaying glorious golden hues, this spice is one transported unswervingly and with conviction from the spice gods.
Not only does its dramatic colour provide an award winning status, so does its medicinal properties and health correcting expertise.
The dazzling golden colour of turmeric is provided by curcumin, a natural antioxidant that will fight off and repair damaged cells and everyday bombardments of anything from petrol fumes to pesticides.
Turmeric is a powerful secret weapon when it comes to good health, and enjoying this supercharged spice frequently in anything from drinks, bakes and main meals is encouraged.
Holding an abundance of antioxidants is not its only healing saving grace, this rich staple from your spice rack also holds an assortment of anti-inflammatory properties and can float effortlessly between traditional and modern medicine.
It’s no wonder that turmeric has really built a name for itself as a front-runner in natural painkillers!
In fact, numerous studies show the powerful healing properties of turmeric and if you’re interested in delving in deeper, you can find an assortment of interesting studies here.
With this in mind, today I’m sharing with you my three favourite ways with turmeric and a short beginners guide detailing how to use this secret weapon in everyday life.
Firstly if you haven’t tried it yet you must get into my anti-inflammatory Toddy drink. This soothing hot drink boasts it’s sweet flavour with a peppery tingle from the combination of the turmeric and cashew milk.
It’s an ideal pick-me-up if you’re feeling a little run down and a wonderful comfort for an upset tum, gas and bloating. Having long been used to nip unhappy bellies in the bud in Chinese medicine, it’s also used widely in Ayurvedic practices for various respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, and allergy, as well as for liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis.
In both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is considered a bitter digestive and a carminative. Unani practitioners use turmeric to expel phlegm or kapha from the body and as a blood circulation booster.
Being a cholagogue, it helps to stimulate bile production in the liver and encourage excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats, that’s why adding coconut milk to this recipe can boost your therapeutic benefits.
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) cashew milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- pinch of vanilla powder
- pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
- 6 drops liquid stevia (optional)
- 2 star anise (optional)
- Heat the cashew milk in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until just warmed. Add the spices, ginger, vanilla and pepper, and then stir to remove any lumps.
- Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve to remove the grated ginger. Add the stevia and enjoy warm.
Tuna Tikka Curry
Being native to Southern India and Indonesia, turmeric, a cousin of ginger is a key ingredient for curries. A dish with an abundance of flavours, smells and textures, curries can strike your senses with a flavoursome knockout punch.
One of my newer much loved curry recipes is a Tuna Tikka Curry. It’s composed around my favourite Ayurvedic healing ingredients.
Now this is the kind of recipe that is sure to get your taste buds tingling and your belly satisfied.
- 4 tuna steaks
- ghee, for frying
- salad leaves and carrot and beetroot raita (recipe below) to serve
- 260 g (9¼ oz/1 cup) sheep’s milk yoghurt
- 2 green chillies, seeded and chopped
- handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
- Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towel and place in a large shallow dish.
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a blender. Add this mixture to the tuna and mix gently with a spoon to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Heat a little ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat or on a barbecue hotplate and cook the tuna for 4–5 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.
- Serve with salad leaves and carrot and beetroot raita.
Healthier take on Nachos
Because all good things come in threes, I want to take you on an adventure to Mexico now and share with you my healthier take on nachos.
If you’re a little hesitant of this luminescent ingredient, a great way to include more turmeric into your diet is to pop it into healthy bakes and crackers.
I find that the nacho recipe is a more laid back way to introduce children to this wonder ingredient.
I like to serve my nachos with a bowl of cooling guacamole and chopped tomatoes for a mouth-watering free for all and one that the whole family can get stuck into enthusiastically.
To veganise this recipe, substitute the egg with 3 tablespoons ground or whole chia or flaxseeds soaked in 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water for 15 minutes
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 100 g (31/2 oz/1 cup) almond meal
- 1 large organic egg
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- To make the chips, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
- Place all the chip ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
- Place the dough on a clean work surface between two pieces of baking paper. Roll the dough out until it is 2 mm (1/16 inch) thick.
- Remove the top piece of baking paper and transfer the dough and bottom piece of baking paper to a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, deeply score the dough every 3 cm (11/4 inch), then do the same in the opposite direction so you form squares.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Allow to cool before breaking them apart.
- To assemble the nachos, place the Nachos chips on a chopping board, and top with the remaining ingredients.
- Any leftover chips will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Now it’s over to you to unleash this golden super spice turmeric into your kitchen and recipes.
I invite you to give it a whirl and charge forth towards less inflammation and better health.