Dried and powdered
Curcumin, Resin, Volatile oil, Bitter principles.
Turmeric is a tropical plant related to ginger that is native to the forest wetlands of Southeast Asia.
The plant has a tough rhizome that has been used in India for thousands of years to produce a golden dye. The dried, ground root is also the source of the spice turmeric, which is a staple in Indian and South Asian cuisines. Powdered turmeric root is also traditionally used to make a paste for minor skin irritations.
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native in southeast India, and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes and then
dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder
commonly used as a spice in Indian cuisine and even curries, for dyeing, and to
impart color to mustard condiments. One active ingredient in it is curcumin.
It has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell.
Curcumin may treat: cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, allergies, arthritis and
other chronic illnesses.
India is a significant producer of turmeric which has regional names based on language and country.
As turmeric is a natural botanical product, it is not patentable.
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Tamil traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric for medicine. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine.
Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, but is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake Sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut-jaggery mixture on the leaf, and then closing and steaming it in a special copper steamer (goa).
In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color,cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
Most turmeric that is used is in the form of rhizome powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara), turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. This use of turmeric leaves usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart a distinctive flavor.
Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as pickle made from fresh turmeric that contains large chunks of soft turmeric.
Turmeric is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient. Almost all Iranian fried dishes consist of oil, onions, and turmeric followed by any other ingredients that are to be included.
In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its color as well as for its potential value in traditional medicine.
In South Africa, turmeric is used to give boiled white rice a golden color.
In Vietnam, turmeric powder is used to color, and enhance the flavors of, certain dishes, such as bánh xèo, bánh khọt and mi quang. The powder is also used in many other Vietnamese stir fried and soup dishes.