Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Indian Spices: Haldi (Turmeric)

Turmeric- haldi, halud, haldar... it is named differently in different Indian languages. But you'll definitely find a name for it in all Indian languages because it is found in every Indian kitchen.

Turmeric powder

Dried turmeric powder is the most common form of turmeric found in each kitchen. It is the powdered form of the aromatic root (rhizome) of a plant grown both in India and West Indies. It has a characteristic golden-yellow colour and a slightly bitter, peppery, peculiar mustard-like aroma.

In Indian cooking, turmeric is used in all curries, meat and lentil preparations across the various regional cuisines. Apart from being a natural food colour that adds a deep yellow colour to curries, it is a natural anti fungal and antibiotic because of which it is added in small quantities to all food preparations.

Turmeric has many health benefits too. Firstly, it has found to be very effective for maintaining a beautiful glow on skin and curing various skin ailments because of its anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. From time immemorial brides and grooms have had a 'haldi' ceremony before the wedding where a paste made of turmeric, sandalwood and other natural beautifying agents is applied to give the skin a golden glow. It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of stomach, liver and other related difficulties in traditional Indian medicine. There are also medical trials being conducted to test its impact on preventing and treating various types of cancer.