Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of my all-time favourite spices. Add it to your cooking to give the colour of sunshine and a warm earthy bitterness. Renowned for it’s therapeutic properties turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. A daily dose of turmeric is great for general health, especially if you live with an inflammatory health condition. Turmeric also has a wonderful protective and tonic effect on the liver and cardiovascular system.
Homemade turmeric paste is an easy way to include this goodness in your daily diet at a therapeutic dose. Make a week to ten days supply at a time so you always have some on hand. Stir it into a base of warm milk or small pot of yoghurt. I love it in a glass of homemade frothed almond milk. In winter pop the paste in warm milk with chai spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and a teaspoon of raw honey … YUM!
In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, turmeric has been given in spiced milk or ghee since time immemorial. This traditional knowledge is now backed bush science. For your body to utilise the most active compound in turmeric – curcumin, you need piperine, a compound conveniently found in black pepper. You also need a whack of good quality fat, both of which are in this paste.
Before launching your first batch of turmeric paste, beware that this spice STAINS! I have yellow blotches over my bench tops and cutting boards, a legacy of speed cooking with a toddler hanging off my leg. The colour does fade, but it takes time.
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder (preferably organic)
- 1 cup filtered/spring/rain water
- 1/4 cup of fat - choose from butter, ghee or virgin coconut oil
- 2 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 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.
Once you have a stash of paste in the fridge, you simply have to add one teaspoon per day to the milk of your choice. If you find the taste a little strong, a teaspoon of raw honey can help. You can have it in hot milk or cold milk, and I also know people who love it in a pot of natural yoghurt too!
The paste is also handy for stirring into the sauté stage in curries and tagines. It can also be a base for marinades. I add more spice, fresh herbs, citrus peel etc … and rub it into fish and other meats we are going to barbeque. It certainly provides a vibrant result!
Use quality certified organic turmeric powder when you can. I buy it in bulk, a quick online search will find a supplier near you.
Enjoy your daily dose of sunshine!