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Turmeric leaves are small to medium in size and are oblong or lanceolate in shape, averaging 80-115 centimeters in length and 30-48 centimeters in width. The smooth, light green leaves sprout from an erect, thick green stem that is connected to a golden root. Turmeric leaves have a neutral aroma when fresh and once they are cut, pounded, or chewed, they release a distinctive tart flavor with notes of grass and mint. When cooked, Turmeric leaves impart a floral, pungent, and gingery flavor with slightly bitter undertones.
Fresh Turmeric leaves are available in the spring through fall, while dried Turmeric leaves are available year-round.
Turmeric leaves, botanically classified as Curcuma longa, grow on a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach up to one meter in height and are members of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger family. Although the turmeric plant is widely known for its edible roots, all parts of the plant including the leaves and flowers can be consumed. Also known as Haldi leaves and Manjal leaves, Turmeric leaves are widely used in India, which is one of the largest producers of the plant in the world and are mostly found along the coastal regions. Turmeric leaves are commonly used in curries in the regions of Goa and Kerala, India, and are often added to ghee-based sweets or pickled for later use.
Turmeric leaves contain curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Turmeric leaves are commonly used in curries, soups, chutneys, or prepared pickled. They are also used as a wrapper for steamed dishes. One famous Turmeric leaf dish in Goa, India is Patholi, which is a sweet dumpling dish using the leaves to wrap sweetened coconut, rice flour, and cardamom before steaming. Indonesian and Thai cuisines also feature dishes that are steamed in Turmeric leaf parcels as the heat intensifies the flavor of the leaf which imparts flavor to the dish. Turmeric leaves can also be ground or crushed to make a paste and then fried to be used in dishes such as beef or chicken rendang which is a dry curry meat dish. Turmeric leaves pair well with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind, chilies, garlic, onion, ginger, and coconut milk. Fresh leaves will keep up to one week when stored in the refrigerator. Dried Turmeric leaves will keep for several months when stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Turmeric leaves are used extensively in India with many cultural and medicinal uses that date back to ancient times. Turmeric leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine and are believed to have antiseptic properties that help reduce symptoms of colds, jaundice, and even intestinal worms. Turmeric leaves are also believed to help improve digestion and can prevent bloating and abdominal discomfort. They are known as a cooling herb and can be pounded and made into a paste to be used externally to relieve swellings and sprains. The paste can also be used on the face as a beauty treatment to soothe the skin and remove blemishes. Turmeric leaves in India are also cooked in conjunction with religious months or festivals. They are considered to be a Sattvic food, which promotes clear thinking and calm thoughts.
Turmeric is native to Asia, specifically to India, where the use of Turmeric as a spice, a medicine, and even in religious ceremonies dates back over 4,000 years ago. It was then believed to be spread to China by the year 700 CE and then spread to Africa and Jamaica by the 18th century. Today, Turmeric is widely found in specialty grocers and fresh markets in Southeast Asia, Asia, the Malay Archipelago, northern Australia, Africa, Europe, South America, and the United States.
Recipes that include Turmeric Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Just as Delish||Beef Rendang Malaysian style|
|The Roasted Root||Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie|
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