Saturday, August 3, 2013

Using Turmeric Leaves

My pot-grown turmeric (above & below) and the plants in my mother's garden
Turmeric is a spice that we use everyday. Most backyards in our region have huge clumps of the plant with the beautiful striking green leaves. When we were kids, it was a common chore in our house to wash, boil, and dry the spice in the sun. Bamboo mats of the yellow sliced turmeric were laid out till they were completely dry. Then the dried spice was pounded into powder for everyday use in the kitchen. The plant dries up in the winter months but new leaves start to sprout by late April. During the hottest months of the year, the turmeric plants look their best! Because of lack of space in my tiny garden I grow turmeric in large pots and wooden containers. It is enough for a family of four considering the fact that it's for the leaves that I grow them in containers.

I don't know how many of you reading this post use the leaves in cooking. It was only after I'd seen Malaysian chefs on Food Safari using the leaves in beef rendang that I started using them. In chicken, pork, lamb, fish, and now even in dal and vegetable dishes. Turmeric leaves have a refreshing smell and half a leaf is enough for curry cooked for eight! And in a dish like rendang the addition of lime leaves (kaffir) make the flavours even more tempting!
The leaves from my pots and the bloom

Looking up online I did find quite a few Indian and South-east Asian recipes using these leaves. Maybe I'll replicate them in a future post. First on the list will be fish wrapped in turmeric leaves and baked on hot coals. I'd love to read about how you use these leaves here in my comments section or on my Facebook page. Thank you for stopping by today.
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