Tag Archive | "Field Guide to Herbs & Spices"

Indian New Potatoes with Turmeric



Turmeric has an ingredient that recent research suggests could help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It also tastes good and is an ingredient found in Indian curry spice blends. Get a bit of that flavor, and a dose of the golden spice turmeric, in this recipe from Aliza Green’s “Field Guide to Herbs and Spices.”

You can also add turmeric to homemade mayonnaise, for a bright yellow color, to rice or couscous, or to vegetables such as cauliflower, beans and lentils.

This recipe calls for a variety of spices for dressing up new potatoes, elevating the bland potato to something special.

Indian New Potatoes with Turmeric

1 1/2 pounds unpeeled new potatoes, cut in small dice
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pinch asafetida (optional)
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste

After washing and dicing the potatoes, put the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the pinch of asafedita (optionsl) along with the black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir in the potatoes. Sprinkle in turmeric and cook, shaking often, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned and almost cooked through.  Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and salt, to taste. Drain any excess oil from the pan before serving.

Serves 3-4.

From Aliza Green, “Field Guide to Herbs and Spices”

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Ask a Foodie: Is Turmeric a Super Spice? How Do I Use It?

turmeric spoon 1I recently read an article about turmeric that said it can help you not get Alzheimer’s disease. I looked for recipes using turmeric but didn’t find any. Do you have recipes or some suggestions as for good ways to use it?  — M.M.

Dear M.M. Thanks for including the link to the article in your question. Turmeric contains a  substance called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. As this article from the Mother Nature Network states, “Preliminary clinical studies are showing that curcumin helps reduce beta amyloid plaque in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s (and prevent plaque buildup in people who don’t have the disease).”

Turmeric is widely used in India as a spice in curry blends, and is also used in other South Asian cuisines. You could get turmeric in capsules from a health food store, or buy the spice in bulk, buy the gel caps and put together your own dietary supplement of turmeric.

Or, as scientists in the study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience did, find extracts of curcumin in pill form. (We can’t tell you now much to use — check out the research, consult with your doctor or a registered dietician or other nutrition expert for suggested amounts.)

To get some of the spice into everyday food, though, the obvious suggestion would be to eat some Indian curry each day! But, that is pretty powerful stuff and generally not a daily occurrence in the American menu.

Make this recipe, Indian New Potatoes with Turmeric for a spicy, healthy way to dress up potatoes.

Consider stirring stirring a half-teaspoon or so into a juice, especially vegetable juice or juice blends such as V-8 or tomato juice. Or, put some into a breakfast smoothie, add it to a spicy sauce or add it to condiments such as mustard or ketchup. Put it into rice or couscous, which will add flavor and add its golden color. It’s also good with beef, chicken and scallops.

Field Guide to Herbs & Spices

Turmeric is not spicy hot, and has an earthy taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste, says Aliza Green in her book “A Field Guide to Herbs & Spices, (Quirk Books, $15.95). It also can sometimes be found in fresh form in markets. It is a rhizome, and the individual pieces are called “fingers.”

“Turmeric has been valued for almost four thousand years in India, where it’s essential for curry dishes, but is also used as a cosmetic, as a dye, in traditional recipes and in religious ceremonies,” writes Green.

To read about using a certain type of turmeric (non-edible) in skin/beauty treatments, check out this article in, The Super Skincare Spice.


Photograph by Bonnie Walker/SavorSA



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