Turmeric: properties and uses in the kitchen – Italian Cuisine

Turmeric: properties and uses in the kitchen

Loved by chefs and doctors, the turmeric It is a spice obtained from a herbaceous plant similar to ginger native to Asia, but now widespread in all countries with tropical climate. This is why traces are found in North African and Eastern cuisine.

There turmeric, also known as saffron of the Indies or yellow ginger, is obtained from the powder reduction of the root. It is the fundamental ingredient of curry and gives this spicy mix the typical yellow color. Consumed pure, it has a very slight aroma of earth mixed with an intense aroma, which is diluted in cooking.

It is a ingredient versatile, suitable for meat dishes, fish, vegetables, but also to prepare fresh and dried pasta, biscuits and yogurt mix. Discover all the property he use in the kitchen of turmeric.


It is necessary to make a premise. Like all spices, turmeric should not be cooked too much. The prolonged time of exposure to heat causes the dispersion of nutrients. Moreover, it should not be consumed alone, but always associated with a little 'pepper, which promotes absorption by the body.

There turmeric has been known for millennia Ayurvedic medicine for its many qualities. In recent years medical science has become passionate about this yellow powder, discovering numerous benefits for the human body.

Turmeric contains two beneficial substances. The first is the curcumin, scientifically defined as a substance with neuro-protective effects and indicated as a substance capable of relieving the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases and in particular Alzheimer's. In areas where the use of turmeric has been consolidated for millennia, this disease is almost non-existent.

The second is the turmerone aromatic. On this last some experiments have shown that at appropriate concentrations it stimulates the proliferation of neuronal stem cells up to 80%, accelerating their differentiation.

In a study published in 2012 in the American Journal of Cardiology it is stated that curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric – has significant benefits cardiological.

Patients undergoing an intervention of bypass who took curcumin pills within eight days of the operation, had postoperative infarction risks 65% lower than other patients. In this case, turmeric had performed a function inflammatory.

In a study published in 2012 on Diabetes Care, the benefits of curcumin capsules were highlighted in delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

In a study conducted on animals and published in 2009 in the Journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists it is stated that "lAt curcumin it can kill a wide variety of cancer cells in different ways"The ability of this substance to eliminate cancer cells, saving the good ones, has placed curcumin at the center of scientific research.

Furthermore, turmeric boasts recognized property antioxidants, antibacterial, analgesic, cicatrizing, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective and antiartrical. It is able to relieve inflammation and increase the immune system, improves digestion and also relieves respiratory problems.

Where to buy it and how to choose it

There turmeric it is sold dried and already ground. You can buy it in powder in oriental markets, but now it is sold in convenient cans even in normal supermarkets and herbalists.

Turmeric has a golden-yellow color, a scent reminiscent of it ginger, but with more earthy notes. Since this spice loses its aromatic properties very quickly, it is good to buy little by little.

You can buy turmeric also in the form of root. Once cut, it should be answered in the fridge inside a food bag or in a glass jar, using the same precautions we use for the ginger root.

To make the most of the benefits of turmeric, it should always be consumed in combination with black pepper and allextra virgin olive oil. It can be used as a cheaper substitute for saffron to prepare pasta dishes and sauces, as it offers the same color to the dish. Also, you can use it in the curry.

You can consume in addition to yogurt, infusions or milk, preparing the famous golden milk or golden milk. It can be added to the powder in bread dough or biscuit frolla, vegetable burger preparation and even in custard.

Heat is a useful ally to increase the bioavailability of turmeric, but it should not be excessive. In fact, after only 10-15 minutes of exposure to heat, almost 80% of curcumin is destroyed. For this reason, when you add it to hot dishes such as meat or soups, turmeric should be put almost at the end of cooking.

How to add it in classic recipes

We have seen that turmeric can be used instead of saffron. This is why it is perfect to flavor the classic risotto or to flavor a normal pasta dish: just add the turmeric in the cooking water or in its seasoning, as in the spaghetti with carrots and turmeric.

If instead you want to add a touch of flavor to your steak, add it at the end of cooking: it will not cover the flavor, but it will exalt it with delicacy. For the same principle, you can use the culcuma in meatballs, stew and meat sauce. Try for example theroast with spices and potatoes.

How to make homemade pasta with turmeric

You can add the turmeric in seasoning or cooking water, but the spice can even flavor the dough homemade pasta. Many Italian brands have been experimenting with flour and spice mixtures to make turmeric dry pasta, which you can find at the supermarket. But you can also make it at home.

Take 500 grams of flour, 20 grams of turmeric, 5 eggs and 20 grams of salt. Mix turmeric to the flour, add salt and form a fountain on the work surface. At the center open the eggs and start kneading with energy until a smooth and firm dough is obtained. Cover the dough and leave to rest for about an hour. Roll out the dough and make a thin sheet of about one millimeter. From there proceed to give the form you want.

How to use turmeric to cook rice

Turmeric can also enrich your dishes based on rice. You can prepare a tasty dish of turmeric and zucchini rice, or add a touch of flavor to your basmati rice, which you will serve as an accompaniment to non-flavored meat dishes.

If you want to use turmeric to prepare a good one risotto, remember that you can use the spice powder, imitating the use of saffron, but you can also choose to resort to the root, completing the dish with a sprinkling of fresh turmeric.

How to use turmeric to cook meat

Meat is the raw material on which perhaps the use of turmeric is known to most people. This spice is well suited to any type of raw material of animal origin. For this you can use it to create tasty chicken skewers in Indian style or prepare small burgers with saffron and vegetables. Remaining in the oriental world, if you want to impress your guests prepare the tasty satay of Malaysia.

How to use turmeric to cook fish

Even the recipes based on fish can be embellished with turmeric, especially if you prepare gravies with which to dress shrimp and fine fillets. You can prepare the kamba, a typical recipe of Tanzania based on shrimp, rice and many spices. If you love full-bodied fillets, prepare cod hearts with turmeric sauce or prepare in a pan some sea-food with tomato sauce and turmeric.

How to use turmeric to make sweets

Turmeric can make spicy Catalan cream or the vanilla pudding, but also one smoothie banana or a tasty Carrots pie.

How to use turmeric to make herbal teas

Thanks to their beneficial properties, turmeric and ginger they can be your precious allies against winter ailments, thanks also to a tasty home-made herbal tea.

In this preparation the powders are not used but the roots. After peeling them, grate 3 cm of each in a saucepan. Pour a cup of water and boil for about 10 minutes. Filter and add a few drops of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey. If you prefer to give yourself the charge with this herbal tea, add a sachet of green tea.



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