Going back to my roots / turmeric

Well unlike Kunta Kinte, I have no baby to hold up to the sky. What I do have is a bit of raw turmeric – which I got from Morrisons. I have to say I’m impressed with the local shop as it stocks a lot of “Ethnic” veg. I just wish they had little placards explaining what they were and how to cook them. While I was shopping there, a few people stopped me to ask what various things were – I love the opportunity to show off so didn’t mind, but even I was limited in my knowledge of what to do with a Cassava (apart from fry it like chips which is sooooo delicious doused with red chili powder, salt and lemon and eaten with beer on a hot summers day).

I’m digressing. Gujaratis love pickles. And they love pickled roots like one called garmar (sorry don’t know the English name but it’s like a really mild ginger), ginger, turmeric, radish, and pickled veg like carrots and chilis and fresh peppercorns. These are eaten with hot ghee smeared rotlis, rice, ghatias or as an accompaniment to a main meal…basically anytime.

I thought I’d have a go so I picked up a little bit of turmeric and brought it home. I pickled it using lime but think in future I’ll use lemon as I prefer the sharper taste.  You can also add ginger (prepare in the same way as turmeric below) and chilis if you like a kick. The amount below is probably enough for one person for a few days. BTW it tastes better if you leave it for a few days to get properly soused! You will need a sterilised glass jar which you can get by putting a jar in the oven at 100 degrees for an hour or put it into some sterilising fluid.

A BIG NOTE TO NOTE: turmeric is used to colour a bride’s skin in the days before her wedding. The colour represents purity and makes the girl go a golden colour apparently. It’s also used in powder form dissolved in water to clean gold. The stuff stains. If you are going to handle it, use gloves and DON’T wear your favourite white shirt. Don’t believe me? Look at my hands….

Another note: boring this one but the interweb seems divided on whether you should eat turmeric if you have gallstones. From what I can see, turmeric is useful for preventing the stones but if you already have them, then avoid this spice.  From what I have read, there are some health benefits to this spice but seriously, the only reason I eat anything is the taste. My ever-expanding waistline is testament to that though it might just be the encroachment of middle age (now imagine me running off sobbing hysterically into my hanky).

Ingredients:

  • 25g turmeric (once peeled weight is 20g)
  • 1 lime or half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

  

  • Wash then thinly peel the skin off the turmeric. Use a vegetable peeler and take off as little as possible. The flesh of the root is bright orange. When I was doing this I had to keep washing the peeler as the stuff was sticky.
  • Wash and pat dry
  • Either chop into small disks or into matchsticks
  • Put in a bowl with the lemon or lime juice and salt
  • Leave for about half an hour out in the open
  • Put the turmeric and juices into the sterilised jar and store in the fridge. Should be good for a few weeks.
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