Spice up your diet with turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and effective inflammatory that can help joint pain and arthritis as well as aid digestion and relieve heartburn.

However, too much of a good thing can cause stomach upset. It can also heighten the effects of blood thinning drugs such as aspirin, stomach acid drugs and diabetes medications, so seek medical advice before using large quantities of turmeric.

It is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its yellow colour. It is also used in mustard and to colour butter and cheese.

Turmeric is a spice derived from a rhizome root and is similar in appearance to fresh ginger. It is cultivated in tropical climates, most often southern Asia.

Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that gives its bright yellow colour and health benefits.

Curried Meatballs

The amount of spice used will depend upon how fresh the spices are. Fresher spices have more flavour so vary to suit your taste. For an interesting variation, add a can of coconut milk to this curry sauce.

Resist the temptation to used extra lean ground beef because the lack of fat makes the meatballs dry and hard.

  • olive oil
  • 6 green onions, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds removed if desired
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, chopped 2.5 cm
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 2 mL
  • 2 lb. lean ground beef 1 kg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 3 tbsp. plain yogurt 45 mL
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt 10 mL

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Puree green onions, jalapenos, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, garam masala, coriander, cumin and cayenne in a blender until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add beef, egg, yogurt and salt. Mix with your hands until mixture is homogenous, about one minute.

Over-mixing will make the meatballs tough. Roll beef mixture into golf ball-sized portions and place on baking sheet, spacing one inch (2.5 cm) apart. Drizzle with more oil and bake until browned on top and cooked through for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes about 24 meatballs.

Curry Sauce

  • 1/4 c. cooking oil 60 mL
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled, chopped 3.7 cm
  • 3 dried chilies de arbol (or crushed red chilies)
  • 4 tsp. curry powder 20 mL
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin 20 mL
  • 4 tsp. ground turmeric 20 mL
  • 3 tbsp. ground coriander 45 mL
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns 5 mL
  • 14.5 oz. crushed tomatoes 450 mL
  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 2 mL
  • cilantro

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and starting to brown, eight to 10 minutes. Stir in chilies, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander and peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is fragrant and spices begin to stick to the pot, about two minutes.

Add tomatoes, stirring and scraping bottom of pot, and bring to a boil. Add bay leaf, one tablespoon (15 mL) salt, and two cups (500 mL) water. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until aromatic, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let sauce cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth, then transfer curry sauce to pot. Stir in lemon juice and cayenne. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Place cooked meatballs into sauce, bring to a simmer and cook until meatballs are heated all the way through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro. Makes eight servings.

Meatballs and sauce can be made a day ahead. Let cool. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Gently reheat meatballs in sauce, covered, thinning with water if sauce is too thick.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit

Turmeric Roasted Carrots

  • 3 lb. whole carrots, peeled 1500 g
  • olive oil, canola oil or camelina oil
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 2 mL
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of half a lime
  • fresh dill or parsley

Heat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Arrange peeled carrots in a single layer on a large lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle carrots with more oil. Sprinkle with spices, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Toss to combine.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender and caramelized or browned in some parts.

Remove from oven. Arrange on a serving platter and squeeze lime juice over them. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Wild Rice

Make a puffed wild rice garnish by cooking a few grains in hot oil similar to making popcorn.

  • 3 c. pureed roasted pumpkin 750 mL
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock 1 L
  • 5 oz. can coconut milk 160 mL
  • 2 tsp. turmeric 10 mL
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt 2 mL
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c. wild rice, cooked 125 mL
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Add ingredients to a pot and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls.

Serves six to eight.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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