Turmeric is present in many Moroccan dishes, this ancient orange-coloured spice imported from Southeast Asia has been an essential staple in Moroccan cuisine for centuries. Recently, turmeric has been described as a major superfood thanks to its inflammatory and therapeutic purposes.
Let’s find out more!
Turmeric commonly refers to a yellow and strong-flavoured powdery spice. This spice is produced by the root (also known as “rhizome” or “stem)” of the curcuma longa plant. The root of this plant is collected underground and is very similar to ginger; its skin is brown and tough and its flesh has a strong and golden orange tone.
The curcuma longa plant comes originally from Indonesia and Southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 4,500 years. Today, the leading commercial producers of turmeric include India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Haiti and Jamaica.
The deep-orange-yellow powder, known as “ground turmeric” is obtained by boiling, drying and finally grinding the root of the curcuma longa. Ground turmeric is commonly known as the primary ingredient for curries but actually, this spice is extensively used in Asian, Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine. While it is a fairly inexpensive spice, turmeric is also called the “golden saffron”, for its dyeing and food colouring properties. Did you know that turmeric is one of the ingredients that gives mustard its bright yellow colour?
While usually used in its dried and grinded form, turmeric – just like ginger – can also be used fresh. This bright powder has a fascinating flavour and aroma. In fact, turmeric’s taste is described as peppery, warm and bitter with a touch of orange and ginger fragrance. Depending on the variety of the plant, the season and the ground where the curcuma longa has been harvested, turmeric’s colour will differ, however, this will not be a criterion of quality.
Turmeric has been a key ingredient in Moroccan cuisine since the Arabs introduced it to Morocco in the 7th century. This spice is mainly used in Morocco in tagines such as Meat Tagine with Prunes and Chicken, preserved lemon and Olives Tagine and provide it with a beautiful yellow hue and a delectable aroma. Turmeric is also used in baking in Moroccan cuisine for pastries such as chebakia.
Although turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years in many parts of the world both as food and medicine, it is only in the recent years that the spice became significantly popular in Western cultures. In fact, it has been highlighted by many contemporary researches that curcuma – which is an active component of turmeric – has extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties. On top of being a wonderful and tasty ingredient, it has been demonstrated that turmeric has the ability to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and act as a powerful antioxidant.
So don’t hesitate to include turmeric to your diet on a daily basis! Here is a list of recipes that include a substantial amount of turmeric:
- Moroccan 7 Vegetables Couscous
- Turmeric, Honey and Tahini Mini Cakes + White Chocolate and Mascarpone Frosting (Gluten Free)
- Maakouda – Moroccan Potato Beignet
- Aubergine and Pumpkin Tagine with Caramelised Onions
- Orange and Fennel Tagine with Chicken
- Seffa Moroccan Chicken With Vermicelli
- Meat Tagine with Prunes
- Chicken, preserved lemon and Olives Tagine