Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice synonymous with Indian cuisine and adds a touch of warmth and sunshine to any dish. Its deep, slightly fruity, earthy bitterness will give your food a distinct flavour and provide numerous health benefits. Turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, making it a valuable addition to your daily routine, especially if you live with an inflammatory health condition.
Add fat and pepper to supercharge your turmeric
In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, turmeric has long been combined with milk or ghee and a variety of other spices, most commonly long pepper. Modern research supports this ancient wisdom. The active component of turmeric, curcumin, is better absorbed by the body when paired with piperine, a compound found in black pepper, and a fat (lipid) like ghee or olive oil.
Be mindful when handling turmeric as it can leave yellow stains on surfaces. Although the colour fades over time, it may take a while. I have had yellow blotches on my countertops and cutting boards, remnants of hurried cooking sessions with a toddler hanging off my leg.
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder (preferably organic)
- 1 cup filtered/spring/rain water
- 1/4 cup of fat - choose from ghee, extra virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- Mix the turmeric powder, pepper and water in a small saucepan until combined and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the fat of choice and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring gently. Take it off the heat when it forms a soft paste. You might need to add a little extra water if it becomes too thick.
- Store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Inspiration for adding turmeric paste to your daily routine
Preparing a week’s worth of turmeric paste is easy and ensures you always have a stash on hand. Once you have a paste supply in your fridge, add a few teaspoons per day to your daily routine.
Here are some delicious ways to enjoy it:
- Turmeric Latte (golden milk): heat a cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy) and stir in the turmeric paste. Frothing the milk creates a latte-style drink. If the taste seems too intense, add a teaspoon of raw honey to balance it out.
- Chai: blend turmeric paste with other spices like cinnamon, cardamom, clove and black tea to make a warming brew infused with water or milk. You can use it as a substitute for fresh turmeric in my sticky turmeric chai recipe.
- Base for Curries and Tagines: use turmeric paste as a starting point and build other spices into your base.
- Marinades and Salad Dressings: mix turmeric paste into marinades, salad dressings, and dips for added zest and nutrition.
- Turmeric Hummus: add the paste to your hummus with a little cumin and coriander powder to spice it up and turn it vibrant gold.
Choose high-quality powder
When possible, opt for high-quality, certified organic turmeric powder. Unfortunately, like any industry, there are a few bad apples, and lead contamination is a potential problem with bulk turmeric. Bulk purchases are convenient, and a quick online search will help you locate a trustworthy supplier.
A word of warning
There have been extremely rare reports of liver injuries related to turmeric supplementation. If you have a liver condition or a previous history of liver disease, discussing the suitability of turmeric supplementation with a health professional is advised.
Enjoy your daily dose of sunshine
Add a daily dose of turmeric paste to your routine. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, this golden spice will bring a burst of sunshine to your kitchen and improve your overall well-being.
Do you make turmeric paste? Share your favourite ways to use it in the comments below.