photo: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

What is common to baseball park mustard, pickels, commercial French vanilla ice cream, and curry?

Turmeric.

This member of the ginger family has a substance in the tubers, curcumin, which is used all over the commercial food industry to make things yellow. Annatto is another spice that is used to make things yellow but we’re not discussing this today because a news story put my attention square on turmeric.

Scientists, using curcumin, have developed a drug which helps protect and regenerate brain cells after people have had strokes. Read more: Turmeric based Drug Shows Promise.

Unlike clot buster drugs, tissue plasminogen activator, “the new curcumin-hybrid compound — CNB-001 — does not attack clots but instead repairs stroke damage at the molecular level that feed and support the all-important brain cells, neurons.”

Turmeric has been used in Indian traditional medicine as an anti-inflammatory for centuries, so this is merely a new scientific move to home in on turmeric’s many beneficial qualities.

But we’re here to talk about food – and here’s a frankly quick and easy way to get more turmeric on the table and into the tummy. I literally had to invent something quick the other night and threw this together. . . .

East Indian Pasta

Ingredients:

Pasta for 3 people, cooked (if you have rice noodles, try that)
1 big red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 big yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 small head of broccoli, cut up into small florets, steamed
Olive oil for sautéing
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of paprika
2 tbl of Thai green curry paste
Liquid of some sort – I used cream because I had it, half and half will also do, coconut milk or cream would be traditional

In a large frying pan, saute the bell pepper and onions until soft, throw in the broccoli, turmeric and paprika and stir.

Put in the green curry paste and add enough liquid until you make a thin sauce – ½ cup to a cup will do.

Pour over the pasta and toss together and serve hot.

If you want to turn this into a main dish, add enough protein for three people – which would be 1.5 cups of chopped cooked chicken, fish or tofu, or some cooked seafood.

If you want to add more turmeric to your diet, the easiest thing to do is to look on the internet for Indian or Southeast Asian recipes.