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Golden health: Delicious, nutritious recipes with turmeric root

BY LAVANYA SUBRAMANIAN*

Gather your family together to discover the lost art of home-cooked food!

Indian cuisine cannot be complete without turmeric – the golden ingredient. Growing up, I am sure many of us did not understand the benefits of turmeric, which was ‘part and parcel’ of our everyday Indian food, no matter which region of India we came from. Little did we know that the gorgeous golden-colored root is actually an elixir bursting with goodness.

Turmeric is often praised for its numerous health benefits, primarily due to its active compound called curcumin. The various health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant benefits, potential cancer prevention, improved digestive health, support for heart health, potential brain health benefits, joint health, and also skin health.

Did you know women in India rub the raw turmeric root on a stone and apply the beautiful yellow shreds directly to their skin? This is supposed to impede hair growth, acting as a natural hair remover of ancient times 😉 plus a beautiful natural yellow ‘glow’.

Turmeric works best when consumed with black pepper or in combination with fats. This can greatly enhance its absorption.

Health tip – Make a mixture of turmeric with local honey in a 1:7 ratio. Add a dash of freshly ground pepper to this mixture and have a teaspoon daily. This helps to ward off seasonal allergies. We also use this ‘concoction’ during the winter months when we feel the advent of an itchy throat or runny nose.

Today, turmeric pills are abundant in general stores as a vitamin supplement. However, it is very easy to include turmeric in your daily foods. Turmeric powder is a very common ingredient in most Indian households…. But how about we explore the use of turmeric root? This ‘vegetable’ is easily available in many grocery stores and works very similarly to ginger root. It has a good earthy flavor and lends itself beautifully to traditional dishes. Just shredding the root directly into the dish adds fresh flavor and plenty of natural color. You will be quite surprised with the beautiful hue the dishes obtain from natural turmeric root.

Try out these simple recipes using turmeric root. As always, let me know if you want to explore more about any particular ingredient. Write to me with your suggestions and comments – nutritiousambrosia@gmail.com.

Enjoy these ‘golden’ dishes!

*Check out more recipes on my cooking blog, My Nutrosia.

Basil Turmeric Biscuits, VEGETARIAN, NUT-FREE

Here are some flavorful and flaky biscuits or rolls that can be whipped up any day of the week. Delicious and satisfying. Check this video of my son whipping up these gorgeous biscuits 🙂

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp Thai basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 tbsp turmeric root, grated
  • Salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, liquid consistency
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together
  • Make a well in the middle, add buttermilk and keep mixing
    Add maple syrup (optional) 
    Finally add olive oil and combine to get a fluffy batter
    (Depending on the consistency of the buttermilk used, you may need to loosen with water or thicken with flour as needed) 
  • Grease an ice cream scooper with oil, scoop out the batter and lay them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
    Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top (optional) 
  • Bake at 450 degrees hot oven for 12 minutes – until tops are light golden 
  • Turn off oven and leave inside for 3 more minutes
  • Remove from oven and rest on counter for 5 minutes 
  • Serve warm
Turmeric Infused Curry Noodles VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE

Tossed with just cauliflower and tofu, traditional curry noodles gets kicked up a notch with fresh Turmeric and ginger roots in abundance.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Flat Rice noodles
  • 2 cups Cauliflower florets
  • 1 8 oz Tofu block Extra firm
  • 2 tbsps Curry powder optional
  • Sesame oil Extra Virgin

Aromatics

  • 1 Shallot or White Onion thinly sliced
  • 4 pods Garlic finely sliced
  • 3 inch piece Turmeric root Grated
  • 3 inch piece Ginger root Grated
  • Thai Basil leaves cut into ribbons

Instructions

  • Take a large cookie sheet, add the cauliflower florets, coat with oil, salt and curry powder and roast in a hot 400 degrees oven for 15-20 minutes
  • In another baking tray, bake the tofu block coated with oil and salt for 20 minutes 
    Once done, cut them into cubes 
  • Start a large pot with water and cook the noodles
  • When the noodles are almost done, start a large wok on the stove
  • Add sesame oil liberally and toss the aromatics – shallots, garlic, basil, turmeric and ginger on a low flame 
  • Drain the noodles and add it to the wok and toss very well to coat
  • Add the cauliflower and tofu and mix lightly
  • Finally top with more basil leaves and serve!
Turmeric cabbage pancakes VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, NUT-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE

Lets make a simple mix of robust flours and panfry some crispy savory pancakes, with freshly grated turmeric root and shredded cabbage – making it a Turmeric pancake loaded with goodness.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa flour
  • 1 cup Chickpea flour
  • 1 cup Whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsps Cornmeal coarse
  • 1 cup Cabbage (green) finely shredded
  • 1 Jalapeno finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric root freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • Oil to panfry
  •  

Instructions

  • Mix the first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl with 2-3 cups of water to make a smooth batter
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes, mix and add water as needed for required dropping consistency 
  • Just before pan-frying these pancakes, sprinkle baking soda on top and mix lightly for the batter to react and form bubbles at the top
  • Heat a cast iron skillet on high, grease with drops of oil, pour a large ladleful of pancake batter and spread lightly to required thickness
  • Drizzle oil around the pancake to pan-fry
  • Flip pancake over after edges start to become crisp and light brown
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes until both sides are well done and crisp
  • Serve with a robust lentil gravy such as sambar. 
Turmeric Tofu with roasted corn – easy stir-fry VEGAN, VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE 

This recipe uses Turmeric in powder form. Coat the tofu with salt and turmeric and air-fried it. Stir-fry the ingredients at high heat – roasted corn, fresh greens and finally the tofu. Finish of the dish with ribbons of fresh chopped mint leaves. Seasoned with cumin seeds.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Tofu – extra firm diced into cubes
  • 2 cups Corn – shucked
  • 2 cups Swiss chards packed
  • 2 pods Garlic sliced
  • 1 stalk Mint leaves cut into ribbons
  • 2 tsps Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Hot chilly paste
  • 2 tsps Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • Salt
  •  

Instructions

  • Coat the tofu with 1 tsp oil, 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder and salt – Air-fry or pan-fry to crisp texture, set aside
  • Heat a big wok with 1 tsp oil, add cumin seeds and garlic, fry lightly
  • Add the corn, 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder and stir fry at high heat until roasted – about 5 minutes
  • Add the swiss chards and stir to wilt – about 2-3 minutes; salt to taste 
  • Finally add the fried tofu, mint leaves, hot chilly paste and stir-fry to coat everything completely – about 2-3 minutes 
  • Serve hot over mixed greens or inside a wrap, Enjoy! 
Carrot, tomato soup with orzo pasta – enriched with fresh turmeric root and ginger

This soup acts like a warm blanket engulfing us in comfort and goodness – sweet carrots and tomatoes combining with ginger and fresh turmeric root to provide an earthy flavor, a simple touch of spice and creamy goodness. 

Ingredients

  • Carrots – large 8 
  • Tomatoes – large 3
  • Sweet potato or potato – small 1
  • Shallot – small 1
  • Ginger – shredded 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric root – shredded 1 tbsp 
  • Vegetable stock 32 oz
  • Parsley – chopped 1 tbsp 
  • Olive oil 2 tbsps
  • Whole wheat orzo pasta 1 cup

Procedure

  1. Start the InstantPot on SAUTE mode (alternatively you can cook in a regular pressure cooker)
  2. Add olive oil, add onions and saute
  3. Add ginger and turmeric and give it a spin 
  4. Add the carrots, tomato, sweet potato and vegetable stock. Add salt. Cook with pressure for 10 minutes 
  5. Let it release pressure naturally. Open the pot carefully and using an immersion hand blender puree the soup to a smooth texture, adjust salt and add pepper
  6. Add the orzo pasta and 1 cup of water and set it back to cook with pressure for another 10 minutes
  7. Let it release pressure naturally. Check for the consistency of the soup and add hot water as needed. Season with salt and black pepper. 
  8. Serve with chopped parsley leaves and a drizzle of cream or milk 

Enjoy ! 

*Check out more recipes on Lavanya Subramanian’s cooking blog, My Nutrosia.

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