Turmeric Powder Benefits – How to Add Turmeric in your Food and Enjoy its Benefits?

All over the world people enjoy Indian food because of its rich taste and the spices added to it. Without spices, Indian cuisine would lose its meaning and uniqueness. It will not be any different from other foods. Varied kinds of blended Indian spices characterize the flavor of most of the exotic Indian dishes.

Indian spices have been in use since time immemorial. Most of the spices have medicinal values as well and by using these in the food we are adding more ‘health’ value to the food.

What would Indian dishes be without that tempting yellow colour? Turmeric “the golden spice of life” is one of most essential spice used as an important ingredient in cooking.

Without turmeric the food would look dull and insipid. Turmeric powder, also known as ‘haldi’ adds that beautiful, bright yellow colour to Indian cuisine. Turmeric was also used nearly 3000 years ago, in the ancient Vedic culture of India. It is used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies.

The turmeric powder is obtained from the dried grounded underground stem “rhizome”.  The rhizome of the turmeric is yellowish orange tuberous juicy stem. It is a tropical plant perennial herb, curcuma, cultivated in India since ancient time. It is known as poor man’s saffron because it offers a less expensive alternative yellow colour.

Turmeric is the principal ingredient in the curry powder. It adds zest to any dish and when combined with other spices it adds a wonderful curry flavor. It is used in almost all Indian vegetable and meat dishes. Its use in cooking provides a lot of health benefits and healing properties. It is an inseparable part of the food recipes. Combined with other spices it is used to marinate food items.

Benefits of turmeric in Indian Cuisine:

  • It is one of the principle ingredients of curry powder.
  • It imparts musky flavour, a warm, mild aroma and yellow colour to curries.
  • A small pinch of turmeric powder adds an orange-yellow tinge to salad dressings.
  • It is used in liquor, fruit drinks, cakes, table jellies, fruit dishes etc.
  • Drinking warm milk with a pinch of turmeric powder will help to soothe sore throat.
  • When added to food it helps to keep the food free from bacteria.
  • It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • It is used to flavour and colour butter, cheese and margarine.
  • Turmeric is added to chutneys, pickles, and relishes.
  • It is used in liquor, fruit drinks, cakes, table jellies, fruit dishes etc.
  • Turmeric oil is also used to impart the flavour in food.
  • Turmeric is a blood purifier so it promotes good complexion.

Turmeric is one of the most strong traditional Indian spices and it in fact gets stronger when cooked so use it carefully. As it is a powerful yellow dye so do not touch your clothes when using it. Turmeric has medicinal as well as many therapeutic benefits as well. So when it is added to food, besides its bright colour, it also provides health benefits.

Thus, turmeric powder when added to food has a wide range of benefits. It not only makes the food more attractive, due to its curative properties, it makes you also beautiful.

The Popularity of Traditional Indian Spices

India is known in the world for its beautiful traditions and its mouth-watering food. The food items and the recipes are famous throughout the world due to the spices used in them. These spices add aroma and taste to the food, they also possess certain medicinal values.

Indian food cannot be imagined without these spices. Indian spices like celery, coriander, cumin, and mint have been proved to cure a variety of diseases like common cold, cough, cancerous tumors etc. Now people are beginning to understand the significance of Indian spices in food and medicine. Spices are known to have a positive influence on the digestive process and the absorption of the food.

Spices not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the food they also provide color, and taste to a range of cuisines. Even the western countries have adopted the use of these spices in food preparations. These may be used whole or in powder form. Indian food and spices have been popular all over the world since early times.

The Romans and the Arab traders imported spices from India. Indian cuisine and spices became very popular all over the world by the Middle Ages.  India had active spice trade with major kingdoms in Asia and Europe. At that time many battles were also fought to get access to the spice route to India.

Some of the main and commonly used Indian spices comprise black pepper, turmeric powder, asafetida, cardamom, mustard, coriander, ginger, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel, cloves etc. The spices are also used to make a variety of medicines and cosmetics. Mustards and  cloves are used to preserve food for long period of time.

The spices are derived from different parts of the plants.

  • Roots – Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion are the roots of the plant. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and other beauty products. It is used for treating internal injuries. Ginger is used for treating stomach problems, ulcers, common colds and acidity.
  • Leaves – The leaves of peppermint, rosemary, curry leaves, coriander and  methi are very popular.  Mint leaves give a unique and distinctive flavor to the dishes. Coriander leaves have a refreshing aroma. These leaves have a number of medicinal benefits like improving digestion and the appetite.
  • Bark – Cinnamon, the most popular varieties of Indian spicy, is the bark of a tree. It has a rich aroma and a strong flavor. It is used in a number of dishes for its appetizing taste. It aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and to improve the digestive system.
  • Flowers – Caper, rose and saffron are parts of the flower, and are  used in the Indian cuisine for their rich and unique fragrance.
  • Seeds – The seeds of cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek etc. are some very popular Indian spices. Fenugreek is used for purification of blood, as a laxative, and as an antidote for various skin problems. Cumin is a popular seasoning, which is rich in iron and has antioxidant properties.

Thus, spices essentially add spice in life and to the diet. Using spices is a simple way to improve the food and to boost your overall health. This is the major reason for the popularity of traditional Indian spices.

Red Chilly Powder – The Use of Red Chilly Powder in Indian Cuisine

Across the world Indian food has become a craze. The mouth watering cuisine of India is rich in tempting flavours, wide variety and the aromatic spices. It is no wonder then that the people from all corners of the globe are so fond of Indian food.

The curry was the first Indian delicacy to reach the western countries. Previously, only tandoori chicken, parathas and nans were considered as Indian food. Now, people have realized that Indian cuisine is much more than tandoori chicken.

Spices are the soul of Indian cuisine. The most unique feature of Indian ethnicity is the spices that make the food so tempting and appetizing. Indian spices are colorful and diverse and they have varied aroma and fragrance. Some spices have special value and health benefits also. The basic Indian spices used in food are turmeric powder, coriander powder,  mustard seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, black pepper, red-chilli powder etc.

Chillies are the fruit of the Capsicum plant that belongs to the species, Capsicum annum. Chilli powder  is one of the most powerful hot spices. The powder is produced by grinding the dried chillies, from either red chilli peppers or cayenne peppers. Of the two types of red chillies, one which has dark red color is less spicy and the other with light red color is more hot and spicy.

It has an aromatically strong odour and its taste is characteristic, strong and spicy. It is free from musty odour and rancidity. It is used as a spice to add piquancy and flavour to dishes. The spiciness in the chilli powder depends on the variety of the chillies used in preparing the powder. The hot flavor of the chilli powder really enhances the recipes. There are hardly any dishes which are served without using red chilli powder.

Uses of Red Chilly powder:

  • It is used to marinade various types of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items.
  • It is the base for making any hot and spicy food.
  • It is included in different salads, and tomato based sauces.
  • It is a crucial ingredient, responsible to add a lovely and wonderful red color and sharp flavor in any recipe.
  • Dull and bland dishes can be easily enhanced and improved with a little amount of this hot, spicy and colorful ingredient.
  • It is used extensively as a stabilizer in curries and other dishes.
  • They act as detoxifiers and remove waste products from our body.

Despite its fiery “hotness” chillie powder is a very popular spice known for its medicinal and health benefiting properties. Chillies contain notable list of plant derived chemical compounds which have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

Health benefits:

  • The alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, contain anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties.
  • It reduces LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
  • It contains minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin, A, B, C and E.

So, red chilli powder may be hot and spicy, but it is one of the main ingredients of Indian cuisine. It gives the food its rich and tempting colour. Without this wonderful ingredient, Indian food would be bland and colourless.

Different Forms of Coriander Used in Indian Food Recipes

The spicy aroma flavors found in most of the dishes is the trademark of the Indian cuisine. The Indian food is flavored with different type of spicy ingredients which include a variety of herbs and spices. The basic Indian spices are cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds, chili powder, mustard seeds and asafetida etc.

One of the basic spices used in Indian food is coriander. It is the seed of the cilantro plant and is also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania.

It is used as fresh green leaves, in seed form or in powder form. The seeds look like tiny, pale, creamy-brown peppercorns.

When they are dry-fried, the seeds have a stimulating, slightly burnt orange aroma which is very pleasing their scent and flavour  is lemony, with a hint of sage. The seeds should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, in airtight containers. Coriander powder losses its aroma very fast, so it is always best to grind the seeds as per the requirement.

The ground seeds have a pleasing, mild and sweet taste that is enticing. Every Indian household uses huge quantities of ground coriander in curry powders, garam masala and a variety of other spice mixtures. Whole or ground seeds are used in chutneys. Coriander seeds contain many plant derived chemical compounds that have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties

Its powder is used in baked goods like cakes and cookies and also in spicy foods like curries because its taste has a hint of cloves as well as pepper.

Coriander seeds and cumin seeds are often combined together, dry-fried and then ground (dhania-jeera powder) to form a powder. The strong, spicy, sweet aroma of cumin when combined with the flavor of coriander in a dish, lends a lovely fragrance to the recipe. It is an excellent blend and this combination is one of the essential spice blends used in Indian cuisine. 

Benefits of coriander

  • Coriander helps in proper digestion of food.
  • The seeds have low cholesterol properties.
  • It increases appetite and relieves indigestion, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea.
  • It helps to increase the body circulation and relieves the fluid retention.
  • It works as an appetite stimulant, which helps in the secretion of gastric juices in the body.
  • Coriander seeds are a rich source of vitamin C.
  • They are a storehouse for many vital vitamins and minerals.

Uses of coriander

  • Coriander is used in almost every Indian recipe.
  • It is used in sweet as well as spicy dishes of Indian cuisine.
  • It is the basic ingredient for a variety of gravy and curry recipes.
  • The coriander powder is used to flavor barbecue, grills and tandoori items.
  • It is an essential item for making vegetarian, non-vegetarian and tofu recipes.
  • It is used for marinating meat, chicken, fish and prawns.
  • Dhania  jeera powder is used for sprinkling over salads, fruit chaats, buttermilk or plain curd. It is also added in pickles, curries and chutneys.

Therefore, coriander plays an essential role in the Indian cookery. Very few recipes can be imagined without the use of coriander powder or the seeds.