Turmeric : Two-Lentil Fresh Turmeric Soup


Recently I had the pleasure of cooking with fresh turmeric root. The fresh root has a pungent and slightly spicy, but not hot, incredible pleasing flavor. Grating it is the best way to utilize fresh turmeric root. I have been using the fresh grated turmeric in soups, saut├ęs, casseroles and even specialty drinks. Native to Southeast Asia, it has been consumed for over 2,500 years. Turmeric is related to ginger, and has many of the same healing properties.

Turmeric is best known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties, and being a natural pain killer. These strong anti-inflammatory properties makes turmeric a natural remedy for arthritis. It also has anti-cancer properties, plus it helps detoxify your liver. Turmeric has natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial agents. Recently, there have been studies showing that it helps with removing amylod plaque build-up in the brain, therefore, it may help with Alzheimer’s disease. It can also be used to soothe an upset stomach.

The fresh root is bright yellow-orange in color. When using it, remember it will stain whatever it touches. I grate the root on a piece of tin foil that I can throw away when I am done. Peeling it before grating is a good idea because the skin is fibrous, and when eaten tastes like you are eating a piece of paper. When using the fresh turmeric root, you will want to use a larger amount than the dried. The dried turmeric is boiled for about 30-45 minutes and then dried in ovens. This drying process concentrates the flavor.

Two-Lentil Fresh Turmeric Soup
10 cups water
1 (4 inch piece) kombu
1 cup green lentils
1 cup red lentils
1 onion (diced)
6 garlic cloves (minced)
4 carrots (diced)
4 celery (diced)
2 cups corn
2 cups grated butternut squash
2 cups water
2 T. olive oil
4 T. minced parsley
3 T. fresh grated turmeric root
3 tsp. sea salt

Put water and kombu in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Remove kombu, cut in small pieces, add back to pot.
Add the lentils, let water come back up to a boil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and butternut squash, one at a time, letting water come back up to a boil in-between each vegetable. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add corn and fresh turmeric. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off heat, add the olive oil, parsley and sea salt. Serve hot.

~ Valerie Wilson


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