Once again, we can thank Instagram for spreading awareness of turmeric all over the world. Widely known in Indian and other Asian cuisines, it wasn’t until golden lattes and smoothies took over the hashtag #yellow that we started paying attention to the reason why we should include turmeric in our diets. I’ve personally started using it in every possible dish. Turmeric has incredible benefits that are out of this world (minus the stains it leaves on my hands and kitchen rags).
Native to India and Southeast Asia, turmeric has a historical use not only in the kitchen, but in botanical medicine, Ayurveda, and fabric dying. Throughout the world, we usually find it in its signature yellow powder form, but in reality, it’s a root very similar to ginger! Actually, when I first saw the real root and peeled it, I was surprised to see it wasn’t yellow at all – it was orange! The drying process changes the color! No wonder it was used as a fabric dye back in the day. All of my white kitchen towels aren’t white anymore. The chemical to blame for this is a phytonutrient called curcumin. Although turmeric is loaded with iron, manganese, Vit B6, and copper, it’s mostly recognized for curcumin. Curcumin possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which not only reduce overall stress and inflammation in the body, but also boost brain function, regulate blood sugar, relieve joint pain, promote skin health, and so much more!
In Ayurveda, turmeric is one of the most researched plants in the world and has astounding 46 name synonyms! My favorite is Gauri, meaning “she who is shining and brilliant”. There are over 10 of them meaning the word “night” because women used to put it on their cheekbones in the evening in the preparation for Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. Turmeric is believed to balance the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. It is known to bring peace and health to the entire body. Turmeric uses are so widespread…you could literally call it the cure for everything. From helping to heal wounds, bruises, and animal bites to liver detoxing and cleansing the lungs, it is the equivalent to an antibiotic and/or antiseptic. No wonder one of its names is also “Golden Goddess” 🙂
Luckily for us, the yellow/golden plant has made its way into so many recipes, we can literally scroll through Instagram and create a weekly menu in 5 minutes.
One of the main things to remember, is to ALWAYS pair it with a dash of black pepper, as it activates the curcumin and enhances its absorption.
Here are some of my favorite turmeric recipes:
#1 Golden Milk
Ahhh…nothing beats a good latte, am I right? And what’s a better way to introduce some superfoods into your diet than having a different one be the star of your drink everyday? I love playing around with adaptogens, antioxidants, and herbs that reduce inflammation and stress while also tasting delicious. I love making my turmeric latte with cashew or coconut milk and adding a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of honey. Ufff…I can taste it right now. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go and make myself one right now, brb 🙂 Sakara Life has a breakfast dish in their menu every month called the The Golden Lassi Parfait and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. If you’re interested in trying it out, keep your eyes on their ever-changing menu and even take 15% off when using my code 🙂
#2 Yellow Stir-Fry
Turmeric rice is the new saffron rice and I am definitely here for it! First, I add some turmeric and black pepper to the water I use to cook my rice. Then I sprinkle a little extra when I add the rice to a pan with veggies and tamari. Cooking it a little in a pan makes it extra crispy. I learned this “cook-then-fry” trick the first time I went to my favorite place in the world, Singapore. My husband and I went to this amazing restaurant and the rice there blew me away! The crispiness of the rice was so incredible, I had to ask them how they did it. Since then, that’s the only way I make rice 🙂
#3 Superfood Curry
I am a huuuge curry lover and I have a special place in my heart for Indian versions. Thai and other Asian ones tend to have a sweet note that I am not a huge fan of. Indian curries have that umami for me and inexplicable perfect combination of spices and flavors. I love making mine full of superfoods especially in the fall and winter when all the nasty colds and flu variations start roaming around. I add ginger, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, anise, and turmeric to my curry. I shy away from nothing 🙂 These ingredients are anti-inflammatory and protective. Mix it with some coconut milk and you have the perfect base to add any vegetables, meat, fish, or tofu. Same goes for the curry paste. Choose the one with your desired heat level and enjoy your yellow bowl of health!
XOX, Karla Tafra
Yoga 💕 Nutrition 💕Fitness