Thursday, 5 September 2013

Spice - Turmeric

Hi peeps!

"The Spice that Ignites Your Body's Astonishing Immune System. 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this 'antioxidant breakthrough' may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels and even put the breaks on aging!" - according to Organicindia.com.

This warm, bitter and buttery spice has been the main ingredient in curry for many, many years. It has also been used in the dyeing of textiles and fabrics; is what makes american mustard yellow and is used in medication too. One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.

Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:


Alzheimer's disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric's effects in addressing Alzheimer's disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease.

Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including sixdifferent COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin - the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects - is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.

Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.

So how do you get more turmeric into your diet? There are capsules you can buy but why do that when you can cook more with it. Here are two awesome recipes that use turmeric.
 
Turmeric Tomatoes and Yoghurt by Nigel Slater
Ingredients:
- 2 medium sweet onions
- 3 tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium red chilli
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 8 tomatoes
- 100g/4oz thick yoghurt
Method
1. Roughly slice the onions and soften in a large shallow pan with a little groundnut oil. Add the garlic and cook to a pale golden colour. Thinly slice the red chilli and add to the pan without its fiery seeds. Now in with the cumin and brown mustard seeds, then brighten the mixture up with the turmeric. Stir well ensuring all the spices cook through.
2. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and then an equal amount of water again using the empty tomato tin. Now place the tomatoes, whole, in the pan. Cover with a lid allowing them to cook in their spicy tomato steam for 25 minutes.
3. When the tomatoes have softened significantly but still hold their shape, gently shuffle them to one side of the pan. Stir the yoghurt through the spicy tomato juices and serve.

REALLY SPICY BICOL EXPRESS - Kerlyn Bautista
This Filipino dish is sure going to get you sweating!
Ingredients
coconut milk – 6 cups
cooking oil – ¼ cup
garlic – 1 tablespoon; chopped
ginger – ¼ cup; sliced julienne-style
green chili peppers – 2 cups; sliced diagonally into strips
onion – ½ cup; chopped
pepper
pork – 1 kilogram; cut into serving sizes; cooked
red bell pepper – 1 ½ cup; sliced vertically into strips
red chili peppers – 2 tablespoons; chopped
salt
shrimp paste – 1 ½ cup
turmeric – 2 tablespoons

Instructions for Cooking Bicol Express
In a pan set over medium heat, pour in cooking oil.
Sauté garlic.
Add in onions and cook until clear.
Add in ginger and turmeric.
Place cooked pork.
Mix everything thoroughly.
Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
Add in shrimp paste.
Mix everything thoroughly.
Add in red chili peppers.
Mix everything thoroughly again.
Allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture once in a while.
Pour in coconut milk.
Add in green chili peppers.
Add in red bell pepper.
Season mixture with salt and pepper.
Allow to cook for 15 minutes.
Note: Add in more or less of the chilies as desired. To enjoy this dish, you have to know your own limits in spices.
Ready your glasses of water! Now, enjoy your Philippine Bicol Express!

Can't believe its Friday tomorrow. And can also not believe its been 6 full months of blogging for The Chef Mother! A beeeeeg thank you to Yolandie Horak for her patience and her support and a big thank you to all of you who have made The Chef Mother one awesome blog!
Many, many thanks!!!!

*Beautifully spicy yellow hugs*
Chef Shants xxxxx

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