s
s
Sections
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
iPhone
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?
iPhone

Turmeric is the magic ingredient du jour, more so even than the last time “Seasonal Pantry” explored it in 2014. It is said to cure everything from the common cold and its annoying cough to arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and many types of cancer. Many people often those involved in selling the spice, claim that a beverage of milk and turmeric, known as golden milk, is said to have ancient roots.

None of these claims is entirely true. Turmeric is no panacea, and golden milk has not been enjoyed for millennia. However, it has been used in India and parts of Asia as both a spice and for its medicinal qualities. It contains curcumin, an acknowledged and effective anti-inflammatory.

Before turmeric became trendy, Americans were eating it in certain commercial foods. It is turmeric that gives such ballpark mustards as French’s its deep color. When you buy pickles, you’ll notice spices that have settled to the bottom of the jar. If there is a yellow hue, it’s turmeric. Enjoy a meal in an Indian restaurant and chances are, you’re ingesting turmeric.

Turmeric doesn’t have a strong flavor; it is earthy and mild and blends well with other spices used in Indian cooking, including ginger, cumin and cayenne. To enjoy its health benefits, there should be some black pepper in the dish or the meal, as it facilitates the absorption of the turmeric.

Recently, fresh turmeric root has been available at certain local markets, including Oliver’s Markets and most Asian markets. It is typically next to fresh ginger root and you’ll recognize it by it’s smaller size and bright orange flesh.

All of today’s recipes call for both ground turmeric and ground ginger. Feel free to use fresh instead, if you are comfortable doing so.

___

Serve this as an appetizer with hot flatbread and good whole milk yogurt alongside. It also makes an excellent side dish with roasted chicken. Vegetarians will enjoy it with oven-roasted asparagus that has been covered with a paste of clarified butter, turmeric, pepper, and salt.

Moroccan Chickpeas with Turmeric & Cilantro
Serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer or side dish

3 tablespoons coconut oil or mild olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
— Kosher salt
1 14- or 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see Note below)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
— Black pepper in a mill
— Small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
— Small handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1 lemon, cut in half

Put the oil into a small sauté pan set over medium heat, add the onion, and sauté gently until soft and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Season lightly with salt.

Add the chickpeas and just enough water to cover them. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are quite soft and the water is reduced by at least half.

Add the turmeric, ginger, and several turns of black pepper. Taste, correct for salt, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the herbs and the juice of one half of the lemon. Tip into a serving bowl.

Cut the remaining half lemon into wedges, add it to the bowl as a garnish, and enjoy right away.

Note: This is designed as a quick dish for a busy weeknight, but you should feel free to use dried chickpeas instead of canned ones if you prefer. You’ll need about 1/2 to 2/3 cup and you’ll need to cook them from 45 to 75 minutes, until they are fully tender. It works best to cook dried chickpeas first and then follow the recipe.

___

What makes this a salad instead of a side dish? The line is not hard and fast but with raw onion and fresh raw herbs, it seems more of a warm salad. Serve it with fried fish, roasted or grilled chicken, or grilled eggplant drizzled with yogurt.

Spicy Golden Potato Salad
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

— Kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, washed, peeled, and cut into wedges
3 tablespoons coconut oil or clarified butter (see Note below)
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small serrano, minced
1/2 teaspoon white mustard seed
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
— Black pepper in a mill
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
— Juice of 1 to 2 limes, to taste
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Fill a medium saucepan half full with water, season generously with salt, add 2 teaspoons of the turmeric and bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the potato wedges, reduce the heat so that it simmers gently, and cook until the potatoes are almost but not quite done. Working quickly, drain the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet to cool.

Meanwhile, put the coconut oil or clarified butter into a large sauté pan set over medium heat. When it is hot, add the coriander seed, red pepper flakes or minced serrano, and mustard seed and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric and sauté one minute more. Remove from the heat.

When the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, add them to the pan and return it to medium heat. Use a thin metal spatula to turn the potatoes in the spice mixture to coat each wedge thoroughly and cook gently until completely tender.

Season with salt and several turns of black pepper.

Tip the potato mixture into a wide shallow serving bowl, add the onion, juice of one lime, and two thirds of both herbs. Toss gently. Taste and add the remaining lime juice if you prefer more acidity.

Add a few more turns of black pepper, garnish with the remaining herbs, and serve hot or at room temperature.

___

This morning pick-me-up is both delicious and invigorating any time at all and especially if you are at the tail end of a cold or flu.

Morning Tonic
Serves 1, easily doubled

2 teaspoons raw honey
— Generous squeeze of lemon juice or splash of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
— Hot water
— Pinch of kosher salt, option

Put the honey into an 8-ounce glass or jar, add the lemon juice or vinegar, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. Fill the container nearly to the top with hot water, add a pinch of salt, if using, and stir well.

Drink hot or warm, stirring now and then if the turmeric settles to the bottom.

___

Here is my version of an increasingly popular nighttime beverage. Some versions insist that you blend the ingredients in a food processor first, others recommend commercial turmeric paste, and some suggest using all coconut milk or soy, almond, or cashew milk. This version, easy to make without a lot of equipment to haul out and then clean, is my own and my favorite. It makes a soothing bedtime drink.

Golden Milk
Serves 2, easily doubled

1 cup whole milk
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
— Generous pinch of black pepper
— Scant pinch of kosher salt, optional
2 teaspoons raw honey or maple syrup, plus more to taste

Put the milks into a small saucepan set over medium heat and warm through. Add the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, salt, if using, and honey or syrup. When the mixture is quite hot, remove it from the heat and use a small or medium whisk to blend thoroughly.

Pour into tea cups or mugs and enjoy hot.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Salt and Pepper.” Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com.

Show Comment