Turmeric – The Spice of Colour

Turmeric – The Spice of Colour

When discovering the origin of turmeric, it becomes evident that turmeric belongs to the ginger family. In order to prepare this bright yellow power, the roots of a plant named rhizome are harvested and dried. Later, these roots are crushed and ground to form a fine powder. Like many other cuisines, turmeric is an essential ingredient of the Moroccan cuisine, in which it is particularly added for its strong flavour and vibrant colour.

A number of Moroccan dishes are considered incomplete without an overall bright yellow colour of turmeric. Tagines, in particular, cannot be prepared without the addition of this flavourful spice. It is because of spices like turmeric, Moroccan dishes are considered so colourful. When a bright yellow tagine, garnished with lush green parsley is served in an azure tagine pot, it never fails to captivate the sight of the eaters.

Along with tagine, there are a number of other Moroccan dishes too in which the goodness of turmeric is added. These include Moroccan lentil dish and traditional Moroccan cous-cous. All of these meals have a golden yellow colour and a tantalising flavour which is due to the wide range of traditional Moroccan spices including turmeric.

Turmeric – the Spice of Colour

Photo by Pratiksha Mohanty on Unsplash

Like all other significant spices, turmeric is also said to have come to Morocco with the Arab inhabitants, who got it from Persia via the famous spice route. Soon, its use becomes common here and it was included in the famous Moroccan spice mix, Ras El Hanout.     

In a number of traditions around the globe, turmeric is used as a replacement for saffron. This is because saffron is quite expensive to be used frequently. However, Moroccans are quite specific about the flavour and use of each spice. They always use the required spice for its specific purpose. Thus, in Morocco, saffron and turmeric are not usually used as alternatives for each other.

There are different ways in which turmeric powder is used. Many people prefer to add it directly to a cooking meal, while others dissolve it a small quantity of water and then mix it with the dish. In Morocco, both these methods are considered equally important.  

Turmeric is used in different cuisines for its warm, peppery, and slightly tart taste similar to ginger. However, along with food items, this yellow coloured spice is also used for obtaining a number of health benefits. Turmeric is considered to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Because of its tiny oil fraction, it can reduce the size of inflammation almost instantly. This is the reason why it is widely used to treat acne and its blemishes. I doubt Moroccans will ever let go of the use of turmeric because of its taste, colour, and numerous health benefits.  

So, how about you? Is turmeric equally important in your culture?

Header photo by Andy HYD on Unsplash