Parveen The Spice Queen: Let’s talk about turmeric


This week I wanted to talk about turmeric. That’s the bright yellow spice that is used in many Indian dishes. Having said that, it doesn’t seem to be exclusive to Indian cuisine, it seems to be everywhere these days. Perhaps, it’s just me and my radar which is fine tuned to spot spices. Well, I am Parveen The Spice Queen, after all, so it is in keeping with my job.

Turmeric has been used for centuries by many eastern cultures for its flavour, colour and most importantly its healing properties. Fresh turmeric looks similar to fresh root ginger but it’s not easy to find, however turmeric powder is just as good. It is a very mild spice with a peppery flavour and an earthy aroma. Turmeric is said to be a natural anti-inflammatory as it contains curcumin.

Although there is no hard evidence as to how beneficial it actually is - it is widely used by Asian herbalists and housewives to help heal both internally and externally. It can be applied topically as a paste or ingested in many forms including capsules. I, myself am a real fan of it and have personally benefitted from taking it. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with a tumour, I was quite ill and had to undergo four operations within a year. When my mum came to visit me, she insisted on making me turmeric milk. It actually doesn’t taste as bad as you think and to make it more palatable, I like to add a little honey.

Adding turmeric changes the colour of the milk turns a beautiful golden colour, hence sometimes it is referred to as the “Golden Milk.”

OK, I know that was a little heavy, so let’s lighten the tone, and speaking of tone, I saw an advert for a new turmeric skin serum that improves skin tone, but surely that would discolour it and not enhance it? Perhaps, that’s what Donald Trump uses as a few weeks ago I heard a comedian describe him as “a tupe wearing turmeric-faced old bleep bleep bleep”.

Ok, back to some recipes now. In terms of eating and drinking it, I have also seen recipes for turmeric lattes and teas and a few weeks ago I was talking to a horse breeder who gives his horses turmeric water after a race as it acts an anti-inflammatory - so as you can see, it’s not just my spice radar - it does seem to have many uses; a word of warning though, it can stain.

Turmeric Milk

Heat up 200ml of milk, that could be whole or semi skimmed. Add ½ tsp of honey and ¼ tsp of turmeric, stir well and sip as required.

Vegan Alternative

Use soya and coconut milk and add sugar instead of honey