Turmeric, native to South Asia, is a plant that grows in tropical climates and belongs to the ginger family. Fresh turmeric root can be pickled or used in cooking, much like ginger. Rhizomes from the plant can also be boiled and dried to produce a bright yellow-orange powder called ground turmeric, a spice commonly used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Ground turmeric is also used for its rich yellow-orange color, lending its brilliance to textiles, cosmetics, and various foods, such as mustard and cheese. It can even be used in gardening as a natural ant deterrent!

Ground turmeric has a slightly bitter, earthy taste, which combines well with the flavors of black pepper and curry powder, but can also be used in sweet foods, such as cakes and sweetened teas.

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in natural Ayurvedic treatments for a wide range of illnesses and afflictions, including cuts, burns, bruises, and as an antiseptic. It is used to stimulate recovery in wounds and also to reduce inflammation and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Modern research has isolated the compound curcumin as the active beneficial agent in turmeric. Scientists are currently investigating turmeric’s potential properties in treating and preventing a wide range of illnesses, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. Researchers have noted that the incidence of cancer in India is very low, when compared to cancer rates of Western countries.

One hypothesis proposed that the daily dietary intake of turmeric, commonly found in most Indian curries, rice dishes, and soups, actually prevented cancer from being able to develop. Test subjects were given daily supplements of turmeric and their physiological reactions were monitored. Researchers found that supplements did not show any beneficial effects.

Afterwards, a new hypothesis was proposed, speculating that beneficial effects of turmeric in India are not due to the ingestion of supplements, but to normal food intake that frequently includes turmeric. Indian cuisine normally calls for turmeric and black pepper to be sautéed in oil with other spices and onions. Researchers have demonstrated that the presence of black pepper increases the potency of turmeric by more than one thousand.

A new study was conducted, where test subjects ate Indian-style foods containing turmeric. The results were clearly beneficial. Further studies have shown that turmeric ingestion actually prevents cancer from developing and reoccurring.*

Thus, it is now believed that for turmeric to be beneficial, it must be sautéed in oil and combined with black pepper, as it has been used in most Indian dishes for thousands of years.

*Please see Anticancer: A new way of life, by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD for further information.


2 lbs cooked chickpeas or 2 (15 oz.) cans of chickpeas, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with liquid.
I tomato
2 onions, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp ground cloves
¾ cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
Olive oil
Salt to taste

In the blender, blend fresh tomato, ¼ cup chickpeas, 1 clove garlic and ¼ cup cilantro to make a paste. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil and fry onions over a medium flame until tender. Stir in rest of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, turmeric, and black pepper. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Mix in blended paste. Add canned tomatoes and chickpeas with their liquid and bring to a boil. Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until well-heated. Turn off flame and stir in rest of cilantro.

Serve with brown basmati rice and whole-wheat garlic naan for a tasty, nutritious meal!


4 eggs, beaten with 2 tbsp water
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 green chili, diced (optional)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
Olive oil
Salt to taste

In a medium-sized pan, heat oil and fry onions, green chili, turmeric, cumin, and black pepper over a medium flame until onions are tender. Add tomatoes and garlic and fry until tomatoes are soft. Add eggs, cilantro, and salt and scramble until desired consistency is reached.

For a great, stimulating breakfast serve with whole-wheat garlic naan and a mango lassi (see recipe at http://www.mykitchenvault.com/blog.php?id=45).


2 cups water
1 tsp Green tea, caffeinated or decaffeinated
½ inch chunk of fresh ginger, sliced
½ tsp powdered turmeric
¼ cup black pepper
1 tablespoon agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice

Bring water to a boil. Add tea and herbs. Simmer for ten minutes. Strain tea, discarding herbs and tea leaves. Add sweetener and lemon. Enjoy!

*Daily intake of green tea and turmeric mixed with black pepper is believed to prevent cancer growth and development (see Anticancer A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD for more information)


Author's Bio: 

The web's first user friendly Ingredient Based Recipe Search. Visit http://www.mykitchenvault.com . You tell us which ingredients you have, and we will tell you what you can make. Submit your recipes to enter in our cash recipe contest and read our Ingredient Reviews. You will love it!