Turmeric: The Indian pinch of wonder!
India is home to some of the most diverse cooking and eating traditions of the world. This probably finds its roots in the fact that people from several relegions and nationalities settled here, contributing to what we collectively called the Indian Culture. Just like the people, the food too is diverse and an amalgamation of all these varieties.
Imagining Indian food without spices is unbelieveable. For a country that for centuries was known as the land of spices, spices here are reverred and preserved with utmost care.
When we talk about Indian spices and don’t mention turmeric, we definitely have got it wrong. The wonder spice of India, Turmeric- rich yellow in color is a must have in every Indian house. Not only is it used as an agent to color and flavor the dish, turmeric is said to have healing and medicinal capacity.
Turmeric has survived as a popular spice and medicinal ingriediant for centuries now. The use of turmeric can be traced to as back as approximately 4000 years ago and can be attributed to the Vedic culture. It is fascinating how almost every Indian recipe has a bit of this wonder spice in common. A pinch of turmeric is crucial to all food preparations. Turmeric is also referred to as as a healer’s spice.
Turmeric is treated with respect. It is considered auspicious in Indian tradition. For example in several parts of India, when wedding invitations are sent out, a pinch of turmeric is used to mark these invitation invitation cards. This is symbolic of happiness and good fortune. In the state of Odisha in India, when a family grieves the death of a deceased family member, food without turmeric for 10 days is consumed.The food without turmeric is a sign of mourning and is symbolic of loss and grief.
In India there is hardly any food preparation, be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian where in a dash of turmeric is not thrown in. Turmeric is also used in pickles, chutneys, salads as it adds a lovely yellow shade as well as a nice tinge and taste to the food. A simple lentil dish which is enhanced with just a pinch of turmeric and green chillies make a delicious meal. In the same light, when making khichdi (an indian dish made my mixing rice and pulses), turmeric is added as a coloring agent bringing out that wonderful yellow colour. The turmeric plant called ‘haldi’ in local language is grown in several parts of India. Fresh turmeric looks very similar to ginger. They are like little bright yellow pieces.
Let’s also take a look at just why its good to have that pinch of turmeric in the food. Turmeric is rich in flavonoid curcumin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoid curcumin helps in the detoxification of the liver, facilitates digestion, boosts the immune system and fights allergies. Turmeric is also very good for the skin and is therefore used in many traditional preparations to enhance the skin.
Turmeric is a good addition to your food. Not only is it great as a natural coloring agent, it is safe as compared to artificial food colors. Also its always good a have a dash of health in one’s food.