Emirati cuisine: turmeric is one of the core flavors in the Middle East cookery

Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, and thyme are the core flavors used in Emirati cookery. Adding turmeric into your daily diet also improves immunity, digestion and cancer prevention.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family. It is native to Southern Asia and grows wild in the humid tropical forest. Plants are gathered annually for their aromatic rhizomes, which are dried and later turn in to a powder.

Turmeric is also used fresh, in large chunks for the preparations of pickles and can also be grated to give flavour. Turmeric powder is the most common spice used in the oriental cuisines to give flavour and colour to the typical dishes.

Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavour and it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry. It can be also used with some black pepper, olive oil or ginger to increase its absorption by the intestine.

Turmeric is also widely used in Emirati cuisine to prepare various tasty and spicy dishes such as La-ham nashif (fried meat), Samak Koufta (fish cakes), and yellow rice with meat.

Turmeric contains healthy nutrients such as protein, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, zinc, fibres, potassium, calcium, copper and it is an excellent source of iron and manganese. Therefore it can be considered not only a spice but also a super food.

Turmeric, in addition, contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids and curcumin is the main one, which has very strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Turmeric also has long been used in the Chinese and Indian medicine to treat different inconveniences such as menstrual difficulties, flatulence, jaundice, bloody urine, colic, chest pain, toothache, bruises, and haemorrhage.

The use of turmeric as a safe and effective medicine is so well established that no home should be without it. Thousands of years of use in India and Pakistan testifies its benefits.

Modern researchers in the Western world continue to confirm much of the classical uses suggested by many physicians to prevent different diseases.

Recent studies on turmeric, some of them on animals, have proved the curative properties of turmeric that can be summarised below.

Turmeric can be used to treat a variety of problems including indigestion, bloating, gas and dyspepsia. The spice may also benefit sufferers of inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis.

Turmeric may provide some benefit to sufferers of osteoarthritis because of its ability to reduce inflammation.

Curcumin significantly inhibits prostate cancer growth and limit its spread.

Although further human trials are required before doctors can recommend curcuma, the substance appears to have a strong potential for fighting many different cancers. This is due to its antioxidant activity, which protects cells from damage.

Turmeric Ginger Saffron core flavors in the Emirati cuisine

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