Turmeric is the golden colored spice that gives curry its bright yellow color. Most people that use turmeric are unaware of its health benefits, and the fact that it can be used in the treatment and management of different ailments. Several scientific studies have been carried out to investigate the healing properties of turmeric. It was discovered that turmeric contains a multitude of active compounds that have medicinal qualities. The most important of these active compounds is curcumin.
The curcuminoids (the active compounds) only make about 3% of the weight of turmeric that is available commercially 1. Thus, despite being the most active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is lowly concentrated in turmeric. Curcumin makes up 77% of the weight of the curcuminoids in turmeric, while desmethoxycurcumin accounts for 17%, bisdemethoxycurcumin comes in at 3%, while Cyclocurcumin accounts for the remainder 2 .
Thus, if you want to benefit as much as possible from curcumin, it is recommended that you take its supplements, as they have higher concentrations of the active curcuminoid. In addition, curcumin is usually poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. To avert this problem, try combining black pepper and curcumin in your food. Black pepper contains piperine that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000% 2. Furthermore, it is also advisable to take curcumin with a fatty meal once in a while because it is fat soluble.
This article will provide you with scientific-backed reasons as to why turmeric and curcumin need to be a staple in your superfood diet as well as some turmeric-infused recipes you should try out.
- Curcumin helps fight against autoimmune diseases
- 2. Curcumin is good for your stomach
- 3. Curcumin Improves Brain Function and Brain Health
- 4. Curcumin is Beneficial for Kidneys
- 5. Curcumin is Also Good for Eye Health
- 6. Curcumin Prevents and Protects Against Cancer
- 7. Curcumin Protects Your Liver’s Health
- 8. Curcumin Eases Joint Problems
- 9. Curcumin Protects against Viruses, Bacteria, and Fungi
- 10. Curcumin Promotes Women’s Health
- 11. Curcumin Increases Muscle Tissue, Helps Treat Obesity, Diabetes, and Libido Issues
- 12. Curcumin has Anti-Aging Properties
- 13. Curcumin is an Effective Antidepressant
- 14. Curcumin Prevents Toxicity
- 15. Curcumin can Help Lower Risk of Heart Disease
- E. Carrot, Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie
- F. Gluten Free Turmeric Recipe
Curcumin helps fight against autoimmune diseases
Scientists have discovered that curcumin can be an effective weapon against several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes among others 3. The turmeric compound was also found effective in maintaining remission in incidences of ulcerative colitis among patients 4 as well as blocking the spread of rheumatoid arthritis 5.
It is believed that curcumin inhibits these diseases by controlling the amounts of inflammatory cytokines found in our bodies 6. Inflammation is extremely important in the body as the process is key in fighting foreign pathogens and repairing damages. Inflammation becomes a problem when it becomes chronic and is inappropriately used against the body’s tissues. Curcumin is thus used to guard against this chronic inflammation.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is an effective tool against many autoimmune diseases that afflict the human body. It prevents these autoimmune diseases by regulating the amount of inflammatory cytokines in our bodies. These pro inflammatory cytokines are responsible for the development of autoimmune diseases by attacking the body’s healthy tissues. Thus, curcumin helps in preventing chronic inflammation, and by extension many common diseases found in the Western world.
2. Curcumin is good for your stomach
Extensive research has shown that curcumin induces the contraction of the gall-bladder, which leads to the release of healthier levels of bile juice 7. In addition, curcumin has been known for protecting the stomach when one has chronic gastric ulcer and it is essential in halting the development of gastric ulcers 8. It is believed that the curcuminoid manages to effectively deal with stomach ulcers by inhibiting the levels of pepsin in the stomach as well as other acid secretions in the gut.
Bottom Line: Curcumin helps in the fight against stomach ulcers and can regulate the amount of bile and other stomach acid secretions in the gut.
3. Curcumin Improves Brain Function and Brain Health
An acute deficiency of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is believed to be a significant cause of several neurological disorders including anxiety among others. The body derives DHA from our regular diet. Scientists have found that curcumin, the most active ingredient in turmeric, helps in increasing the amount of DHA in the brain by significantly improving the synthesis of the acid from our diet 9. Studies have also shown that curcumin increases the number of enzymes that are used in the synthesis of DHA.
The discovery of the correlation between curcumin and DHA has very important implications for people across the world, especially for those who rely on a plant-based diet and do not consume fish, which is an essential source of DHA.
Curcumin has also been shown to help in the prevention of tissue damage in the brain, otherwise referred to as cerebral reperfusion. Reperfusion occurs when blood rapidly returns to the brain after an injury, resulting in cell death. The compound has exhibited both anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidation properties, as well as activity against cell death, which are all integral for the prevention of tissue damage and cell death after a brain injury 10 .
When used as a bioavailable compound, curcumin can help to improve neurological function and reduce water content in the brain when brain hemorrhaging occurs. The compound has shown great promise in improving spatial memory and learning in adults and aged people.
Bottom Line: Curcumin can elevate the levels of DHA in the brain, a compound that is essential in the prevention of neurological diseases. People who do not include fish in their diet should increase their intake of curcumin in order to have balanced levels of DHA. Curcumin is also crucial in the prevention of tissue damage and abnormal cell death in the brain.
4. Curcumin is Beneficial for Kidneys
Paracetamol is the most common pain reliever used by millions of people around the world. However, one major side effect of using paracetamol to treat headaches and reduce fever, is that it can lead to toxicity/ overdose. Paracetamol toxicity can cause severe damage to the kidneys, and it is one of the most common reasons for emergency admissions in several parts of the world owing to how popular it is as a painkiller and fever reliever 11 .
Research conducted on the effect of curcumin on affected and non-affected kidneys shows that the curcuminoid reduces the toxic effects of paracetamol on the kidney as well as increase the effectiveness of the drugs used to treat paracetamol overdoses 11.
Bottom Line: Curcumin can help prevent kidney damage that is caused by paracetamol overdose as well as increase the efficacy of the medication used to treat the overdose.
5. Curcumin is Also Good for Eye Health
In several promising eye studies done on rats, scientists have found that curcumin can help prevent or fight against formation of cataracts in the eyes. Curcumin does this by suppressing the free radicals found in the eye that are responsible for the formation of cataracts in animals and human beings 12. Scientists hope that the same results can be replicated in human studies involving the treatment of cataracts.
In addition, curcumin, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, can also be used in the treatment of dry-eyes. Elevated levels of tear osmolarity has been found to be a distinct feature of dry-eyes. Tear osmolarity increases due to the presence or increased production of specific pro-inflammation cytokines 12. Curcumin comes into play in this condition due to its anti-inflammation properties. It inhibits the production of the cytokine, thereby reducing tear osmolarity 12. Consequently, the occurrence of dry-eyes is minimized.
Bottom Line: Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties can be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of common eye-problems that include dry-eyes and cataracts.
6. Curcumin Prevents and Protects Against Cancer
Scientists have discovered that curcumin has the potential of destroying cancer cells in both animal and human models. Sufficient scientific evidence has shown that curcumin reduces the growth of blood vessels in tumors, as well as inducing expected cell death in brain cancer cells, T-cell lymphoma cells, oral cancer cells, melanoma cancer cells, brain and bone cancer cells 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
Evidence also shows that curcumin is toxic against the mitochondria of the cancer cells. Mitochondria provide the much needed energy for these cells to continue developing, and by attacking the mitochondria, curcumin is killing off the energy supply to the cancer cells 18. Without energy, the cancer cells die off rapidly.
Curcumin plays specific roles in the destruction of certain types of cancer cells. Below are the specific ways that curcumin tackles specific types of cancers.
It has been determined that curcumin prevents the development and growth of breast cancer by inhibiting the self-renewal of breast stem cell 19. Researchers believe that breast cancer arises in the stem of the concerned tissue through the process of self-renewal 19. Thus, the prevention of the process of self-renewal will aid in the prevention and management of breast cancer.
Studies have also shown that the intake of curcumin by patients with metastatic or advanced breast cancer improves their response to chemotherapy and reduces the toxicity of the treatment plan 20.
Studies and experiments have shown that curcumin is an essential compound in the prevention of, and the destruction of Glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain cancer. Curcumin acts effectively against cancer stem cells, which are a major cause of the resistance shown by glioblastoma towards therapy 21, 22.
Research has shown that curcumin is responsible for the activation of a receptor that is responsible for prevention of cancer in the colon 23. Thus, an increase in the levels of curcumin in the body can help prevent colon cancer.
According to scientists, a daily dose of curcumin of about 3.6 g will not be distributed outside your gut, and it achieves effective levels in the colorectum 24. In addition, when combined quercetin, curcumin can reduce the number of tumors in the colon that usually lead to colon cancer 25.
Several studies have conclusively shown that bioavailable curcumin helps block metastases and tumor growth in pancreatic cancer 26. Bioavailability implies that the compound is found in higher doses than how it occurs in its natural state in turmeric. To make curcumin bioavailable, it needs to be synthesized and concentrated. Supplements are an excellent example of bioavailable curcumin because they have significantly higher doses of the compound than is usually found in nature.
Studies have found that leukemia cells are extremely sensitive towards curcumin because it is toxic to such cells. The same studies have also shown that curcumin, while highly toxic to leukemia cells, does not harm or interfere with the functioning of normal, healthy cells 27.
Further studies have indicated that when combined with the green tea extract known as Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), curcumin encourages the cell death of leukemia cells 28.
Extensive research on prostate cancer has revealed that curcumin is an effective inhibitor of tumor cell growth in the prostate 29. It is believed that curcumin is the most potent plant-based estrogen available when it comes to regulate prostate cancer cell growth. It has also been discovered that curcumin-induced toxicity to prostate cancer cells is due to the compound’s ability to attack the mitochondrial bodies of the cancer cells.
Cancer experts theorize that curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in lung cells by inhibiting unnecessary inflammation in the lung 30. Curcumin is also known for activating or stimulating the body’s own antioxidant enzymes that may have gone dormant owing to disease or injury.
Curcumin also promotes the natural death of lung cancer cells, like it does in other parts of the body. It also attacks the mitochondrial pathways of these cancer cells, thereby inhibiting their growth by depleting them of energy to function.
In addition, the dietary intake of curcumin is known to increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment on lungs. Curcumin prevents radiation-induced lung disease without impairing the ability of radiotherapy to kill the tumor cells 31.
Bottom Line: Curcumin has been extensively investigated for its role in the prevention and management of different types of cancer. The studies conclusively show that curcumin is highly effective in battling different types of cancer as well as increasing the efficiency and reducing the toxicity of chemotherapy.
7. Curcumin Protects Your Liver’s Health
Due to its antioxidant properties, curcumin can protect your liver from chronic-alcohol induced injury as well as atherosclerosis. Excessive levels of alcohol in the blood stream is deemed responsible for increased risk of developing fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, and liver injury 32. Curcumin helps increase the level of glutathione thereby protecting the liver against the harmful effects of chronic ethanol.
Studies have also shown that curcumin can be effective against the harmful effects of the carcinogen Aflatoxin on the livers of rats. It is hypothesized that curcumin will have the same effect on human liver 33. The studies indicate that curcumin helps to prevent and reduce the damage caused by aflatoxin on the liver.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is an effective guard against the damage that alcohol can cause on the liver. It is also significantly useful in protecting the liver from aflatoxins.
8. Curcumin Eases Joint Problems
One clinical experiment found that curcumin can help in the management of osteoarthritis 34. The researchers observed that mobility in patients with osteoarthritis increased after a curcumin complex was introduced into their diets. The patients could walk for longer on the treadmill and inflammation in the joints that causes joint pain significantly reduced during the period of experimentation.
Another study carried out in Belgium found that a curcumin supplement known as Flexofytol rapidly improved the quality of life for patients complaining about joint problems. The extract improved articular mobility in the patients as well as reduced the pain involved in joint problems 35. Most of the patients in the study were noted to prefer the curcumin supplement over anti-inflammatory and painkiller treatments.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is effective in managing joint problems as well as reducing the pain that often comes with the problems. It is especially effective and safe for patients with osteoarthritis.
9. Curcumin Protects against Viruses, Bacteria, and Fungi
In numerous tests, curcumin has been shown to have anti-viral capabilities against the major viruses of our time including influenza, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus, and adenovirus 36.
Researchers also found that curcumin can act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the case of lung infections such as pneumonia. It uses its anti-inflammatory property to act against the bacteria that attack the lungs and cause inflammation in the lung tissue 37. Other researchers have concluded that curcumin can be an effective antimicrobial agent against numerous fatal bacterial infections in the body including the often fatal cholera 38.
It has also been determined that the turmeric compound possesses antifungal properties. For instance, the compound has been shown to be effective against Candida albicans, which when out of control leads to the development of candidiasis 39.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is an effective treatment against mild and chronic fungal, bacterial, and virus infections. It is useful in treating a wide range of infections from mild influenza to chronic pneumonia and cholera.
10. Curcumin Promotes Women’s Health
Curcumin has been shown to ease the pain and discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome symptoms 40. The turmeric compound decreases the severity of these symptoms enabling women to lead normal lives before and during their menstruation. It is hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin as well as its neurotransmitters are responsible for reducing the severity of PMS symptoms.
Studies have also conclusively shown that the antiviral and anticancer activities of curcumin can be extremely helpful in treating and managing cervical cancer that is as a result of infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) 41, 42. In one such study, the researchers found that bioavailable curcumin inhibited the growth of the cancer cells, induced cell death, and arrested the cell cycles of the cervical cancer cells 41.
Bottom Line: Curcumin helps reduce the severity of the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Studies have also proven that curcumin can help in the treatment of cervical cancer, especially in cases where the cervical cancer developed as a result of HPV infection.
11. Curcumin Increases Muscle Tissue, Helps Treat Obesity, Diabetes, and Libido Issues
When it comes to overweight individuals, bioavailable forms of curcumin have been shown to significantly reduce weight loss, enhance the reduction in waistline, enhance the percentage reduction in body fat, significant reduction in BMI, as well as remarkable hip circumference reduction 43. The turmeric compound has also proven to be effective in inhibiting inflammation that is as a result of the complications that obesity brings along.
Water-soluble curcumin has been shown to improve erectile function in mice that suffer from erectile dysfunction. There is much hope that the same results can be replicated in men that suffer from erectile dysfunction 44.
Many experiments have been done to investigate the effect of curcumin on diabetes and its associated disorders. Majority of the studies concluded that curcumin acts favorably against insulin resistance, and other conditions that lead to the development of diabetes. It has thus been concluded that curcumin, in either its free or bioavailable form, can effectively prevent the detrimental complications that stem from diabetes 45.
In addition, further studies have shown that the turmeric compound has the ability to induce pancreatic regeneration, which is crucial for the effective management of diabetes 46. Furthermore, curcumin significantly lowers the chances of prediabetes developing into Type II diabetes, while at the same time improving the functioning of the pancreas 47.
Other studies have demonstrated that curcumin stimulates muscle regeneration after an individual undergoes a traumatic injury. This is especially the case for skeletal muscle that undergoes most injury after trauma or disease. Thus, curcumin can be used to treat muscle diseases and injuries by supporting regeneration of healthy muscles 48.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is effective in weight management and reduction in overweight individuals. It also helps protects against the debilitating effects of diabetes and related concerns. Curcumin can help improve libido by fixing erectile dysfunction, and it is effective in improving skeletal muscle regeneration after injury, trauma or disease destroys muscle tissues.
12. Curcumin has Anti-Aging Properties
It is a well-known fact that the aging process is exacerbated by inflammation in the body. If inflammation is reduced, then the aging process will slow down 49. That is why curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are used to decrease the speed of aging.
In addition, age-related diseases such as metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s are usually caused by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties work effectively at eliminating oxidative stress and inflammation and thereby stopping the development of these age-related diseases 49. For instance in the case of Alzheimer’s, curcumin supports the creation of new brain cells in adults as well as improve cognitive vitality in patients with the disease.
Bottom Line: Curcumin is an effective anti-aging agent and also helps prevent majority of the diseases associated with old age including Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis.
13. Curcumin is an Effective Antidepressant
Millions of people including teenagers suffer from different forms of depression. Many of these people are on prescription medication to combat their depression. However, these medications have serious side-effects. Fortunately, curcumin, which is a naturally occurring compound, is able to treat depression and stress without the side effects posed by pharmaceutical drugs. Curcumin has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to manage stress and reduce depression and depression-related disorders in patients 50.
How does curcumin treat depression? Studies show that curcumin stimulates the production of new cells in the brain. Scientists have also shown that the compound helps improve mood, memory, and attention in individuals. Furthermore, the compound when combined with piperine enhances the effects of SNRI and SSRI antidepressants in animal models, and it is hypothesized that the same results can be replicated in human beings 50. Scientists now believe that curcumin is as effective as prozac in curing, and managing depression.
Bottom Line: Curcumin has numerous promising positive effects against depression and stress without the side effects presented by manufactured medicines. The natural compound can be one of the most effective ways ever discovered of battling the depression pandemic around the world.
14. Curcumin Prevents Toxicity
Metal toxicity is a significant health hazard to the population and it is important for scientists to find natural ways of preventing and managing metal toxicity. Curcumin, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, decreases inflammation in rats that suffer from copper overload. Studies have also shown that the turmeric compound reduces inflammation caused by aluminium overdose 51.
Other studies have shown that dietary intake of cucumin helps reduce mercury concentrations in tissues, protects DNA from damage due to high levels of arsenic, and increases antioxidant activities throughout the body 52.
Further studies on mercury toxicity have shown that curcumin is an effective pretreatment to mercury intoxication in the brain, the kidneys, and the liver 53. This is especially the case if it is ingested daily as part of a person’s dietary regimen.
Curcumin has also been effective in diminishing the neurotoxicity caused by fluoride poisoning. This is because of its antioxidant property 54. Curcumin has the ability of destroying the neurodegenerative effects that fluoride has on the human brain. It has also proved to be effective against selenium, and iron toxicity in the brain, the liver, and the kidneys.
Bottom Line: All the studies indicated above have proven that curcumin is an effective antioxidant that can guard against different types of metal toxicities that are currently plaguing the human population due to destructive environmental practices.
15. Curcumin can Help Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease continues to be the biggest cause of death across the world. Examples of heart diseases that cause the greatest mortality include obstructive lung disease, lower respiratory functions, stroke, and ischaemic heart disease. Scientists, while investigating the different properties of curcumin, found that the polyphenol can be an effective agent against disorders in the cardiovascular systems 55.
For instance, studies have shown that curcumin can prevent the cardiovascular complications that arise from diabetes and related concerns. Scientific experiments on animals have also demonstrated that the turmeric compound is effective in disrupting the development of cardiac hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscles) as well as heart failure. Furthermore, curcumin helps in the prevention of ventricular arrhythmia as well as guarding the cardiovascular system from the effects of atherosclerosis 55.
In addition, curcumin has been shown to be highly effective against endothelial dysfunction. This type of dysfunction is a major contributor to the development of the heart disease 56. The dysfunction arises from the endothelium’s inability to regulate blood clotting, and blood pressure. Scientists found that curcumin improves endothelial function, and that it works as well as exercise in preventing heart disease that arises from endothelial dysfunction.
Bottom Line: Curcumin has been shown to be extremely beneficial in combatting heart disease. Its antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties are crucial in protecting the cardiovascular system from disease and damage. In addition, the turmeric compound has the ability of improving endothelial function, further lessening the risk of contracting heart disease.
Tasty and Healthy Turmeric Recipes
Now that you have learnt the benefits of curcumin, and by extension turmeric, it is time you learnt how to incorporate the compound into your diet. As mentioned before in this article, curcumin is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream. To enhance its absorption, ensure you include black pepper when you try out the recipes below.
Indian Mango Dal
This classic Indian dal contains lentils with a heavy dose of aromatics and spices, most important of which is turmeric. Yellow lentils and pieces of mango (either ripe or unripe) are cooked together and transformed into a soupy mixture. You can use ripe or unripe mango; a ripe mango easily breaks down during the cooking and makes the mixture sweeter while an unripe mango makes the soup possess a tart flavor and a definite shape. The following recipe is sufficient for six servings 57.
A cup of yellow lentils
½ teaspoon of turmeric (grounded)
1 teaspoon of salt
4 cups of water
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 mangoes (peeled and diced)
½ cup cilantro (fresh and chopped)
The meal will take approximately 40 minutes to be ready.
Wash the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Put the clean lentils, ½ teaspoon of salt, 4 cups of water and the turmeric in a large saucepan. Let it boil and once it does, reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. Cook and stir occasionally for the next 15 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, place some oil in a large skillet or ceramic cookware and heat over medium heat. Add cumin seeds into the skillet and let them cook until their fragrance begins to emanate from the skillet. This should take about 30 seconds. Add the onion, and continue stirring until they are soft and brown, which will be in about four minutes. When the onions brown, add the garlic, the cayenne, coriander, ginger, black pepper, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook and stir the mixture for an additional minute.
Pour in the garlic mixture and the mangoes into the lentils. Let it simmer; cook and stir once in a while until the lentils begin to fall apart. This will take about an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in the cilantro, stir for about 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
It is advisable to serve the dal while hot. You can opt to serve the hot dal over rice or with some roasted chicken.
B. Fast and Easy Chicken Tikka Masala
Most people shy away from preparing Chicken Tikka Masala because they believe that the process is complex, and time-consuming. The following recipe cuts out some of the steps that make preparing this meal time consuming and complex. The recipe only involves one skillet, uses less cream, omits the butter, and adds the amount of vegetables used 58.
¼ teaspoon turmeric
4 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 large onion (sweet and diced)
4 teaspoons of canola oil
1 pound chicken tenders
1 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes
4 teaspoons of ginger (minced)
½ cup of cilantro (chopped)
The meal will take about 40 minutes to prepare and be ready.
Stir turmeric, salt, and masala in a small dish. Place the all-purpose flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the spice mixture on the chicken and then dredge the piece of chicken in the flour. Be sure to save the remaining spice mixture and a tablespoon of the remaining flour for other sections of this recipe.
Place 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook the dredged chicken in the skillet until it is brown. It is recommended that you allow the chicken to sit for 1 to 2 minutes each side. Transfer the chicken to a shallow plate.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, stir often until all the ingredients are brown. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remainder of the spice mixture and cook while stirring, until the fragrance of the spices emerges. This should take between 30 seconds and one minute. Sprinkle the remaining flour over the mixture, stir until everything is coated. Add the plum tomatoes and their juice. Let it simmer, and break the tomatoes into pieces using a wooden spoon. Stir often, until the onion is tender and the mixture has thickened. The process should take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour in the cream as you stir. Add the chicken into the pan. Let the mixture simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through. Garnish the meal with cilantro and stir for approximately 2 minutes. Remove the pan and proceed to serve over brown basmati rice.
C. Kerala Coconut Chicken Curry
This chicken curry is one of the most authentic and popular dishes to originate from the southern areas of India. This recipe, full of flavor and deliciousness, is bound to transport your taste buds to India. This recipe is meant to serve six people 59.
For the coconut spice paste:
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 red chilies
4 garlic cloves
6 big shallots (halved and peeled)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 green cardamom pods
¾ cup of grated and unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (brown/ black)
2 teaspoons peppercorns (black)
For the chicken curry:
2 2-pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small sizes
1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 teaspoons salt
1 inch fresh ginger, minced and peeled
2 large tomatoes
2 large yellow onions
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of turmeric
For coconut spice paste:
Combine the shallots and red chillies, and roast them together in either an electric pressure cooker or a stovetop pressure cooker until black spots begin to develop. Remove the mix and place them in a bowl used in a food processor.
Add the coconut, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods into the pressure cooker. Cook for approximately one minute and constantly stir until the coconut turns light brown. Add the turmeric and stir for a few more seconds and then transfer the coconut and spice mixture into the food processor bowl where the shallot and red chillies mixture is resting.
Blend the entire mixture until it becomes fairly consistent. You can add a few tablespoons of water so that it becomes a creamier paste. Remove and set aside.
For chicken curry:
Pour in some oil into the hot pressure cooker pot. Add sliced onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute the ingredients for 12 minutes or until the onions turn brown. Add the coconut spice paste and mix around in the pot for another minute. Pour in the sliced tomatoes, and allow the mixture to fry for five more minutes ensuring that the tomatoes have broken down. Next, stir in the vinegar, salt, and the pieces of chicken. Mix well.
Cover the cooker and lock the mixture in. Cook on High pressure for approximately 10 minutes and then allow the pressure to release naturally, which should take between 10-12 minutes. By this time, the chicken should be well-cooked, but if it is not as tender as you would like, then pressure cook for another 3-4 minutes.
This curry is best served with yogurt and basmati rice.
D. Salmon with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce and Carrot Salad
The following recipe has four servings with an additional serving for lunch the next day 60.
For the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 grated garlic clove
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 cucumber that is peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
Fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 shredded large carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons of cilantro
1 ½ pounds of salmon cut into five fillets
Flaky Sea salt
1 tablespoon of neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola
Fine sea salt
Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce: Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the garlic in a bowl. Fold in the cucumber and season with black pepper and the sea salt.
Carrot Salad : Roast cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for approximately one minute. Add the turmeric, and stir for 15-20 seconds until it becomes fragrant. Combine the toasted ingredients, cilantro, a tablespoon of lemon juice, carrot, and oil in a bowl. Toss the mixture and season with sea salt.
Salmon: Season the raw salmon with pepper and fine sea salt. Pour 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon undisturbed until the skin of the fish is crisp and brown. This should take 3 or 4 minutes. Gently turn the fillets and cook until the salmon looks opaque at the middle. Divide the fillets among the plates and serve with the carrot salad and cucumber-yogurt. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the dish and serve.
E. Carrot, Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie
This nutritious and delicious drink recipe can make about two cups ideal for you and your partner or friend 61.
1 navel orange without white pith or peel
Pinch of kosher salt
1 big carrot that is coarsely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ cup of frozen mango pieces
1 ½ teaspoons of grated and peeled turmeric
⅔ cup coconut water
¾ teaspoon of peeled ginger
1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds
Set your blender to smoothie or ice crush, and then puree ginger, orange, turmeric, mango, cayenne, ½ cup ice, carrot, coconut water, and hemp seeds until it becomes a smooth mixture. Serve desired quantities in glasses.
F. Gluten Free Turmeric Recipe
Another easy gluten free turmeric recipe from our friends at Gluten Free Recipe 62:
1. Add ½ teaspoon of organic turmeric, ½ small teaspoon of organic powdered ginger to 2 cups of hot water
2. Add a small pinch of organic gluten free cayenne pepper
3. Take 1 organic lemon and squeeze in lemon juice