Superstar spice: fresh turmeric

Malaika Arora begins her day with a blended concoction of amla, ginger and an inch of fresh turmeric root. She will not be alone.

In a rustic that has nice religion in kitchen treatments, COVID-19 has prompted folks from throughout States to return to old style ‘immunity-boosters’. In the method, uncooked turmeric has turn out to be a prized ingredient. And it’s used for excess of simply haldi-doodh (rechristened turmeric latte in 2016 and bought at upscale cafes the world over ever since).

Commonly obtainable in winter, fresh turmeric rhizomes have a pungent perfume in addition to style. They are crunchy like ginger and go away a gentle bitter after style when consumed uncooked. Such is the demand this yr that vegetable distributors are seeing a gentle demand for the fresh root, which, until date, has been intermittently used for face packs or pickles at house.

In demand

Iftekhar Ali, 60, a vegetable vendor in Sainikpuri, Telangana, says the demand is excessive however since it’s low season procuring turmeric is troublesome now. “This is haldi sowing time. Fresh haldi is harvested in January. All the low season uncooked haldi that’s coming into the market in the intervening time is from Ooty, and never the highest quality. Buyers, nonetheless, are shopping for it as a result of they’re determined to put their fingers on uncooked turmeric,” he says.

The water content material within the fresh rhizomes is what makes it troublesome to retailer for greater than few weeks. This is why turmeric farmers boil the harvested rhizomes earlier than powdering. “I by no means purchase greater than four kilograms of fresh haldi to promote,” says Ali, including, “But, for the last few months, I have been buying over 10 kilograms and they fly off the shelves within an hour.”

Hyderabad-based Sridevi Jasti, a holistic nutritionist and chef, explains how a cup of heat milk with a teaspoon of turmeric is suggested, not simply to remedy a chilly or sore throat, but additionally for a superb night time’s sleep.

Haldi is a marvel ingredient due to curcumin (a pure chemical compound with therapeutic properties), which supplies it the yellow color,” she says. (India’s greatest turmeric reportedly comes from Lakadong in Meghalaya, the place the curcumin ranges from 7-9%, the very best within the nation.)

Sridevi says she loves utilizing fresh haldi in her salads and natural tea. “I brew a small piece of fresh turmeric with a balanced mix of spices — pepper, cumin, cinnamon and ginger.” She provides a phrase of warning: “When shopping for the basis, choose haldi with out mould as fresh turmeric develops mould in a short time if not saved correctly.” Store it for as much as per week in your fridge. Salad staple

Praveen Anand, who’s Executive Chef — South Indian cuisines at ITC motels, says, “I love the fresh turmeric salad prepared at my mother-in-law’s home. Slices of fresh turmeric seasoned with salt, lemon and ginger is served as a side dish. It’s like a fresh pickle.”

Some regional Indian cuisines use fresh turmeric as a vegetable just like the haldi ki sabji in Rajasthan, which is a typical winter curry. The root is cooked with ghee to make it simply digestible.

kachi haldi ki barfi

Dehradun-based Ayurvedic meals, well being and vitamin guide, Sangeeta Khanna, has created an Indian barfi utilizing uncooked turmeric with almond powder and cardamom. She says, “The barfi was developed as a part of a wellness menu for Hotel Suryagarh in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Ever since, it has been a well-liked mithai on their breakfast menu. I get queries from followers on my weblog on revolutionary methods to incorporate uncooked haldi of their food regimen. I direct them to utilizing it in a salad.”

Mention of fresh haldi additionally brings again childhood reminiscences. Kolkata-based meals guide Sayantani Mahapatra recollects how they used fresh turmeric in winter. “Because of its anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties, we have been pressured to chew a little bit of this together with two or three peppers. As youngsters, we hated the fresh bulbs because it was a weekly routine for ma to wash our our bodies with a mix of fresh malai (cream) and kacha holudh bata (fresh turmeric paste),” she says. Then provides, “It felt like torture then but now, as a mother, I am repeating the same with my kids.”

Blue turmeric

Not all turmeric is yellow. “In Raiganj, Bengal, blue turmeric is being cultivated by an organisation referred to as Forum for Indigenous Agricultural Movement. They are working with native farmers in cultivating and preserving types of indigenous grains, herbs, and greens. This blue turmeric loses its distinct color as soon as processed; after it’s dried, it turns black. While fresh blue turmeric is utilized in dyeing materials, black haldi is well-known medication amongst conventional healers,” says meals guide Sayantani Mahapatra

Traditionally in Bengal, Sayantani provides, “it is used to treat indigestion, relax sore muscles and heal wounds or insect bites as it is reportedly high in antioxidants. Blue turmeric when boiled and powdered becomes black, and is easily available online… but the fresh version is a challenge to find.”

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