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How to Use Turmeric in Indian Food

Learn about the spice turmeric and how it's used in Indian recipes from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Howcast Indian food video.


I'm going to tell you about turmeric. Turmeric is a spice used in much of Indian cooking. It has a that bright yellow hue that's often associated with curry powder, but it's just one ingredient that appears in many curry powders. When it grows fresh it's a rhizome, it's an underground stem. And it grows on a plant similar to ginger. And it's brown on the outside, and when you open it up it has this really beautiful orange color. Then they skin it and dry it, and then powder it, and we get this gorgeous powder.

Turmeric has kind of an astringent quality, it's not particularly pleasant to taste. It's kind of acrid. But, once it's cooked it mellows the flavor, and it adds nicely to the other components in a curry like cumin and coriander. Plus, it does lend a really nice color to a curry.

It's often used in dolls. It's used in vegetable curries, and it's used in meat fish and chicken curries. It contains a component called curcumin, which is being researched to see if it has possible beneficial qualities for people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and cancer. So it's always been known to Indians to have antiseptic qualities, so it's been important in Indian medicine for a long time.

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