Spices pack a surprising punch of positive health benefits. Simply adding more spices into the daily diet can be an easy way to forge a new pathway to wellness. So far we are creating new dishes with cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ginger.
Continuing through the rainbow of spices is fun. We are excitedly taking a leap to yellow on this culinary adventure. Bursting onto the scene here is an unusual but not new spice for this country. Here comes the “Queen of Spices” as it is known. Time to discover, or rediscover, turmeric.
Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry. But don’t chalk it off to being limited to Inidan dishes. Yes, it is in many of our lentil dishes. But surprise! Turmeric is also what gives the mustard on our sandwiches its yellow color, so it certainly isn’t just for Indian cooking.
Turmeric has been used for centuries medicinally. It is effective as an anti-inflammatory, and, like its relative ginger, can aid digestive problems as well. Current research has indicated that turmeric destroys some types of cancer cells. It can help improve glucose control in diabetics. It is also credited with being an immune system booster. Fantastic news, isn’t it? Time to start cooking!
I have made chicken salad and tossed in some turmeric and curry. I am pretty light handed with it because it packs a big flavor punch, and it is absolutely fabulous with chicken. Unlike ginger, which I usually use fresh, I tend to use turmeric and curry dried. Take your favorite chicken salad recipe and add 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric. Or try my chicken salad recipe. Try it as is or adjust the flavors for you and your crowd. But at least this provides a jumping off point so give it a go!
Amy’s Curried Chicken Salad
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 to 2 cups light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons mango chutney
- 2-3 teaspoons curry powder (the turmeric is there)
- 1 cup grapes cut in half (green or red)
- 3/4 cup medium-diced celery, including leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
- salt and black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients and chill. Serve on lettuce, put on bread for a sandwich, or grab a few crackers and savor this delicious salad.
Don’t have any chicken breasts on hand? Go easy then, and make a smoothie using turmeric. Here is a recipe, but feel free to customize it to your taste!
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 fresh mango, chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
- 1/2-1 teaspoon dried turmeric
- cinnamon to taste
- Honey to taste for sweetening
Place ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass, pop a straw into it, and enjoy!
It is easy to start enjoying fresh spices. There is no reason not to start using fresh new spices in a bold and flavorful step toward better wellness!