Eat Better & Feel Better with Turmeric

It’s a new year and a new decade and a great time to implement some new healthy habits. Recently, I decided to look for better ways to manage aches and pains rather than turning to over the counter painkillers. Turmeric is something I’ve heard a lot about and I was curious how this ancient root could make a healthy difference.

As part of the ginger family, turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern medicine as a remedy for numerous ailments. It is currently experiencing new popularity in Western culture and in the culinary world. It can be found as an ingredient in lattes, ice cream, smoothies, sauces, curries and even baked goods. It’s a common spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine and its bright yellow-orange color is noticeable in any dish for which it is used as an ingredient.

Turmeric is most often talked about as a natural anti-inflammatory, but it is also known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. There are a variety of turmeric supplements in the Health and Wellness department and studies have shown that turmeric can improve overall health and specifically help with arthritis, viral infections, mood, memory, digestion and managing cholesterol and blood sugar.

When cooking with turmeric, you can find it in powdered form in the spice aisle or fresh in the produce department. The fresh variety looks like a smaller version of ginger root. It should be peeled and then grated to use in a recipe. You can also freeze the root whole to use as needed. The flavor is warm, smoky and slightly bitter. When using it in baked goods or drinks, you can balance the flavor with an equal amount of honey. Fresh turmeric is best for flavor and health benefits, but dried is easier to use and more readily available. When using in a recipe, 1 tablespoon of fresh turmeric is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon dried turmeric.

Note: Please consult your physician before trying turmeric as a supplement or to treat a specific medical condition. Individual needs and results may vary.

Parchment-Steamed Flounder with Lemon-Turmeric Sauce

4 flounder filets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 lemons
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups cooked rice, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper into 12×12 squares. Place a filet in the middle of each square. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice lemons into 12 round slices and place 3 slices on the top of each filet.

Bring the top and the bottom part of the parchment up over the middle of the fish. Begin folding the paper down towards the fish leaving some room for air circulation. Fold up the sides to create a packet. Repeat with all four pieces of fish. Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, whisk together the cream and broth over medium heat. Stir in the turmeric and chile flakes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes to thicken and reduce. Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

When the fish is ready, carefully unwrap the packets. Using four shallow bowls, spoon some sauce into the bottom of each bowl. Add some rice and place the filets on top of the rice. Drizzle with more sauce and top with the lemon slices.

Published 1/13/20

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