I have been reading a lot about turmeric lately. Not on purpose. But I sometimes stumble upon articles touting its health benefits. And I made bringhe (sort of like a paella, but using turmeric instead of saffron) several times and I really liked the turmeric!
I always thought turmeric was some exotic spice that is only found in India, and that well, we here in the Philippines would just have to make do with ground turmeric. Then a couple of years ago, I stumbled upon turmeric at SM Hypermarket! And it was cheap! Like P6.00 or something for a small bunch.
Turmeric, locally called luyang dilaw, looks like a small ginger. It’s generally about the size of your pinky finger. Its skin is also a bit darker than a ginger’s, it’s almost as brown as a gabi (taro).
Last week, I decided that we needed to eat “healthier”. Haha, I don’t mean that the way you think it means! No, we’re not dieting nor limiting intake of delicious creams and butters. I just wanted us to get more vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants. More of the good stuff.
Since turmeric was cheap AND is like, a super-spice that fights all bad things, and I remembered that I really liked bringhe, I thought, why not make turmeric rice? I didn’t want to make it too complicated. I wanted to be as simple as cooking rice in the rice cooker. So easy, the maid can do it.
So I put a tray of turmeric in our grocery cart. A whole tray, with maybe 20-30 pcs of turmeric. It was only P25!
For the first try, we just peeled one turmeric, grated it in our Japanese ceramic grater, and added it to the washed & water-measured rice before cooking. Yup. Just literally add the grated turmeric to the rice and mix a bit before turning on the rice cooker. (Add some black pepper as well, see below in red.)
The turmeric is very, very yellow, kind of orange. Its juice will stain so do some preventive measures if you don’t want yellow fingers or yellow-stained everything.
And don’t be intimidated by the Japanese ceramic grater. I got it at one of those Japanese P88 stores. I forget if it was P66 or P88. But I really love this grater. I think it’s supposed to be used for grating wasabi in Japan. I love grating ginger on it too. It turns ginger and turmeric to mush without much effort and little risk to hurting your fingers. You wonder how a ceramic plate with small spikes works better than a fine cheese grater at this, but it just does!
So back to the rice.
The cooked rice turned out a nice, appetizing yellow color with a fragrant aroma. It’s not hot like ginger. It’s just a nice, very faint curry smell with a tiny hint of ginger. Most people won’t even notice a difference in taste. They’ll definitely notice the color but in general won’t find the taste too different from regular rice. And nobody seemed to mind the turmeric rice! Just eat it like normal rice, with your ulam/s (viand) of choice. I plan for us to have turmeric rice every day until we use up that tray of turmeric!
After a bit more reading on turmeric, it seems that curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, needs a compound from black pepper to help it be better absorbed into our bloodstream. So next time, I will be adding some freshly ground black pepper with the turmeric before starting the rice cooker.
The best part about this turmeric rice? It is loaded with anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, etc…
Here are some of the benefits:
- it can help ward off Alzheimer’s and similar conditions
- it can help prevent cancer
- it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a powerful anti-oxidant
- it boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes
- helps improve brain function and lowers the risk of brain diseases
- reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes
- fights colds and flu
- helps digestion
- may improve glucose control or insulin activity (good for people with diabetes)
- helps with arthritis (powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, remember?)
I really like this turmeric rice. It’s an easy way to add powerful, healthy, disease-preventing stuff to food. Family members think they’re being served a “special” rice like java rice, paella rice, or something. Yeah sure. It’s a special “anti-oxidant” rice! 😛 Kidding aside, it does look like a plate of sunshine!
Also, turmeric is cheap AND you can get it fresh! Why use the powdered form when fresh is best?
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The Barat Queen
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