Ingredients You Should Be Using: Turmeric

Posted on: July 16th 2017

Yeah, yeah, I know we’ve talked about how great turmeric is before, but we’ve never talked about how to cook with it! So, let’s get the science out of the way, and talk about some delicious curries and spicy dishes!

Today’s Ingredient: Turmeric

What is it?

Turmeric is primarily known as the spice in curry. It contains curcumin, which gives it its distinctive yellow pigment. 

Why is it good for me?

Turmeric is well-known in Asia for its anti-inflammatory effects. Compounds in turmeric help to minimize existing inflammation and discourage inflammatory signals from turning on. If you’re in pain (from inflammation), foods with turmeric might be a helpful addition to your diet. 

Where do you get it?

Anywhere that sells spices. I have a legit 1lb tub at home and I use it all the time.

What do I make with it?

Here are some tasty recipes to get you started (lots of additional ideas below too!)

YELLOW CURRY PASTE (2 Cups) (from Pinch of Yum)

Ingredients: 4 large shallots, 4 large HEADS of garlic (not cloves, full heads), 1 6-inch piece of fresh ginger, 5-20 whole dried Thai chili peppers (gauge how many chilis to how spicy you like it), 1½ tbsp. salt, 2-3 tbsp. turmeric, 2-3 tbsp. mild curry powder, 2 tsp roasted ground coriander, 3 tbsp. lemongrass paste, ¼C packed cilantro leaves and stems

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel your shallots, drizzle them with oil and wrap them in foil. Peel and thinly slice the ginger, place it on a sheet of foil in a single layer, drizzle with oil and wrap in foil. Cut the tips off each head of garlic so you can see the cloves, drizzle with oil, wrap in foil. Place all your foil packages on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Next, remove the ginger (it should be soft), and raise the oven temperature to 400. Roast everything else for an additional 30 minutes until golden brown. While your aromatics are roasting, soak the chilis by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl. Let them rehydrate for about 15 minutes, then drain. Blend everything together in a food processor until it is smooth and well-mixed. A normal recipe that calls for curry will usually use about 1/3 of a cup, so you can refrigerate (for about a week) or freeze the rest.


Ingredients: 1/3 C Yellow Curry Paste, 2 tbsp. EVOO, 1 1/2 C sweet onions, 8 oz. firm tofu, 1 1/2 C carrots, 1 C broccoli, 1 1/2 C white potatoes, 2 C coconut milk

OPTIONAL: bell peppers, asparagus, chopped cashews

Instructions: Cut all your veggies and tofu into chunks (about 1″). Sauté the onions in a pan with olive oil. Add tofu and curry paste, gently sauté until golden brown. Add the carrots, potatoes, milk and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 25-35 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Serve over rice or noodles or on its own!


Ingredients: 1 3-4lb chicken, 2 medium onions, 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise, 1 4-inch piece ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced, 3 bay leaves, 1 tbsp. turmeric, 2 tsp black peppercorns, 2 tsp coriander seeds, Kosher salt, 4 carrots, peeled and cut, 8 oz. dried udon noodles, scallions

Instructions: In a large pot, place chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, turmeric, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and several pinches of salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour in cold water to cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. After the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and keep simmering until a meat thermometer, stuck into thickest part of the breast, registers 155° (usually about 30 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool on a plate, keep the rest of the stock simmering. Remove the chicken skin and pull the meat from bones, shredding it into small pieces, then set aside.

Return bones and carcass to stock. Boil the stock again, then keep cooking until the liquid reduces by about one-third (usually 15–20 minutes). Strain the stock into a saucepan (removing all the solids), add the carrots and simmer until the carrots are tender. In a separate pot, cook your noodles until they are al dente – rinse them under cold water, then put them into bowls. Add the shredded chicken to the stock, cook until just heated and add more salt if you need it. Ladle the stock over the noodles, top with scallions and enjoy!

What else can you do with turmeric?

Not feeling the recipes above? Here are some more ideas to get your kitchen spices flowing:

  • Spice up your burgers! That’s right – curry burgers. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM
  • Use it in your meat marinades
  • Add it to smoothies, it will add a little zip, but won’t impact the taste of the fruits and veggies too much
  • Sprinkle it on roasted veggies
  • Add it to your morning scrambled eggs, frittatas, and omelets (Vegans – use it to color tofu scrambles too!)
  • Add it to lemon water (or hot with milk and honey) for a healthy once-a-day tonic

If you want even more inflammation busters, add the following to your dishes: dark leafy greens, flax, walnuts, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, onions, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, leeks, and chives.

Love curry? Share your favorite recipe – we’d love to hear from you!

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