Sunday, 26 August 2007

Special spice of India


NEW ZEALAND-BASED Indians say turmeric has a special place in health, food and culture in their home country.
“It’s a special spice because we are using the turmeric in every curry to make a good flavour and a good colour,” says Gavinder Grewal, from New Plymouth’s India Today restaurant.
“It’s really good for health.”
She says that if someone is injured, they are given a drink of turmeric and milk, and if they cut themselves, the yellow spice is mixed with mustard oil and placed on the wound.
“It’s very good for the skin too,” Gavinder says.
Her brother-inlaw, Sunny Grewal, says turmeric works like an antibiotic. He recommends mixing a spoonful in a glass of water, with sugar and/or lemon to make it taste better.
“I was talking to grandma last night and she said in her day, every two or three weeks, they were given a drink of turmeric to keep the bugs away,” he says.
“People eat fresh turmeric for health – that’s the best way.”
Sunny says the fresh root looks like orange ginger, and can be used in dishes in the same way as its plant cousin. But he warns people to use it sparingly as the flavour is strong.
New Plymouth woman Madhu Rai swears by turmeric. “If your body is sore, you have turmeric in hot milk. It’s good for internal wounds, like when you have a baby.”
She also says in its root state, pure turmeric can be used as an antiseptic.
The spice also has a role in weddings.
Turmeric is blended with sandalwood oil and the women of the home rub the mixture all over the bride’s body. The same is done to the groom by the men of his house. This is part of a purification ritual, because the bride is going from one home to another.
Afterwards, the bride and groom each shower and dress in their marriage clothes ready for the ceremony.

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