In November 2016, The Today Show dubbed turmeric, the Indian spice responsible for giving curry a golden yellow hue, the next kale. Many flavor and trend forecasters concurred and included turmeric in their 2017 trend reports. We are now half way through the year and it looks like they are right. Turmeric is showing up in everything from beverages to dessert, with many meat and poultry dishes making excellent vehicles for this superfood ingredient.
From a culinary perspective, turmeric’s appeal is its rich orange-gold color and ginger-like flavor profile. But turmeric is so much more thanks to its concentrated levels of curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.
Consumers who seek out health and wellness from foods are embracing turmeric for this benefit, as it may assist with staving off arthritis, joint pain, skin discomfort and other ailments associated with inflammation. Turmeric’s superfood status includes functioning as an antioxidant, which can assist with delaying the signs of aging.
Turmeric is recognized as a very versatile ingredient and is typically paired with other spices and herbs, most notably black pepper, garlic and ginger. It can be used in marinades as well as cooking sauces and glazes. In prepared meals, it can be used in the protein or as part of the side dish.
For example, Snap Kitchen, Austin, Texas, recently added a range of internationally inspired dishes, each boasting a unique primary health benefit. The Tex-Mex Chicken Bowl is the quick-service restaurant’s take on the classic burrito bowl. It contains Spanish cauliflower rice with a smoky flavor from smoked paprika and mega anti-inflammatory benefits from turmeric; spirulina crema made from cashew, avocado and spirulina that offers up healthy fats and B vitamins; and it’s topped with fajita veggies and marinated chicken, and homemade red salsa. The product is the result of collaboration between Snap Kitchen’s research and development chefs and dietitian.
“Our Bowls with Benefits have been my favorite chef/dietitian collaboration to date,” says Tressie Lieberman, CMO. “They’re perfect examples of the delicious magic that occurs when you combine the culinary creativity of a chef with the nutrition knowledge of a dietitian.”
EVOL Foods, Boulder, Colorado, recently added Shawarma Style Chicken to its single-serve frozen entrée line. This Middle Eastern favorite is made with grilled chicken sourced from US-raised antibiotic-free chickens that never were fed animal by-products, green and red bell peppers and red onions. It’s all covered in a tangy yellow turmeric sauce on a bed of couscous.
As the health benefits of turmeric become more known, we can except to see this spice incorporated into more recipes, especially those with international flair. Meat and poultry dishes are well suited to participate in this superfood trend.