From an ancient culinary and medicinal spice to the most googled word in 2016, not many people are unfamiliar with turmeric.
This versatile vibrant yellow spice, also known as the golden spice and Indian saffron, can be easily added regularly to our diets from savoury main meals and desserts to teas and lattes (all delicious)! We have included a recipe for each to showcase the different ways in which turmeric can be used.
Uses of turmeric
Turmeric is most widely cultivated and used in India, both in flavoursome curry dishes and as part of Ayurvedic medicine, however it has a long history across various cultures. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic and Western herbal medicine all use Turmeric as a therapeutic substance to treat a number of conditions. These include respiratory ailments and digestive disturbances (stimulating liver function and reducing abdominal pain and bloating).
More recent research has helped to identify the mechanism for the powerful healing properties of turmeric (and particularly it’s constituent, curcumin). Exceptional anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity have been demonstrated. With chronic inflammation being an enemy to health and wellbeing, it is not surprising that numerous possible applications have been investigated with very promising results.
Bioavailability of turmeric is limited, therefore it is recommended that black pepper be added where appropriate. This has has been shown to significantly enhance absorption.
As with all foods, there is no one size that fits all and as such, there are some conditions that warrant caution. This is especially true when consumed in higher doses.
This is especially true when consumed in higher doses. For example, turmeric has been shown to lower blood pressure and have anti-platelet aggregating (blood thinning) activity, which may be of benefit to many, however needs to be carefully considered if taking blood pressure or blood thinning medications.
Here are some of our favourite ways to incorporate turmeric into our diet….
Creamy pumpkin soup
Serves 4 (as an entrée)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours in filtered water)
500 grams kumera (or sweet potato)
500 grams pumpkin
1 small onion
20 grams fresh turmeric*
30 grams fresh grated ginger
2 cups filtered water
Pinch Himilayan sea salt
*Note: Turmeric can stain clothing and surfaces so use caution
- Braise onion and leek in coconut oil for 3-5 minutes on low heat.
- Add chopped pumpkin, kumera and filtered water.
- Simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes (or until pumpkin and kumera are tender).
- Add grated fresh ginger, turmeric and a pinch of salt and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Whilst this is cooking make the cashew milk. Drain and rinse cashews (to remove phytates) and add 2 cups of filtered water.
- Blend until it forms a smooth ‘milky’ consistency and reserve liquid (we use a vitamix and store all our nut milks in glass bottles*).
- Then, blend pumpkin mixture until smooth using a high power blender or vitamix.
- Place the mixture back in a pan and 1/2 cup of the cashew milk (add to desired creaminess).
- Heat the soup on the stove before serving.
- Serving recommendations include a dollop of coyo (dairy free coconut yoghurt), fresh parsley, cracked pepper and a side of gluten free toast.
*Cashew milk keeps for up to 5 days in the fridge.
Orange and turmeric cheesecake
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup buckinis, ground to a flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
3 tbsp coconut nectar
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups cashews (soaked for 3-6 hours)
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp coconut nectar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp blood orange zest
1 tsp fresh turmeric powder
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
- Combine all dry base ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Then add coconut nectar and coconut oil, mix until it starts to stick together .
- Mould into a greased and lined spring-form cake tin (covering base and sides).
- Place in the oven and bake for approx. 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Drain and rinse cashews for the filling. Place in a high-power blender with remaining orange and turmeric filling ingredients, blend until smooth and creamy (this takes a few minutes).
- Spoon into the base and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours or until set.
- Transfer to fridge an hour or so before serving to thaw.
- Top with cacao nibs (optional), slice and serve.
2 cups macadamia milk
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mesquite powder (optional)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp raw honey or coconut nectar (add more if you prefer a sweeter drink)
- Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until all ingredients are combined.
- Transfer to a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat.
- Transfer to mugs and top with cinnamon (optional).
- Serve and enjoy.