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Turmeric Rice


While researching one of my cookbooks India with Passion, I discovered that almost every region uses turmeric either for cooking or for its medicinal properties.

bar Turmeric Rice
The underground root or rhizome of turmeric is dug up, cleaned, boiled, dried, polished and then ground to produce a nutty flavoured yellow powder. It’s in everyone’s spice box and an essential ingredient in Indian cuisine. It has also been used for centuries as a curative and a cleansing agent. An Indian bride is anointed with a mixture of turmeric and sandalwood in a Hindu ritual before the auspicious occasion.

Picture by Werner Van Peppen

Serves 4

40g butter
1 onion, finely sliced
280g basmati rice, rinsed
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt


Heat a saucepan with a tight fitting lid and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, tip in the onions and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Add the rice and carefully mix well. Fold in the turmeric and salt and add 650ml of just boiled water. Cover and simmer for 10-13 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Serve hot with a cucumber raita or any curry or lentil dish.


A quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder added to a cup of hot milk and drunk before bedtime is considered the best medicine to clear a cough and other flu symptoms.

(c) 2012

Spice Bites