Tag Archives: tumeric

Jackfruit Mackerel Curry

Jackfruit is popular in Malaysia. The fruit grows close to the trunk of the tree. A mature jackfruit tree can produce between 100 – 200 fruits in a year. The seeds inside are bountiful too. Cut it open and you will find many seeds covered with yellow or orange pulp. The riper the pulp, the sweeter it is.

Having grown up in, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I recall that most people in the city consumed the pulp while the flesh was discarded. You also cannot find Jackfruit Mackerel Curry on the menu of most restaurants whether in Malaysia or Australia.  In the villages, however, they do still cook the jackfruit flesh – something my own great-grandmother used to do.

Chef Shelly with me and another participant at the Jackfruit Mackerel Curry Workshop
Chef Shelly with me and another participant at the Jackfruit Mackerel Curry Workshop

So I was excited to participate in this workshop to cook Jackfruit Mackerel Curry, at Fresh Asian Cuisine restaurant in Noosaville, Queensland. Chef Shelly, who has owned and cooked at no less than 30 restaurants, conducted the workshop. Although the jackfruit flesh came out of a can, I found it pleasing, that Fresh Asian Cuisine restaurant at Noosaville have Jackfruit Mackerel Curry on their menu as the restaurant takes pride in serving up authentic Asian dishes.

“I’d love to see fresh jackfruit again,” said Chef Shelly Phanich who is originally from Thailand, “But it is tedious to peel and take out the pulp. You need to oil your knife so that the latex juice doesn’t stick to it.” I laughed as she reminded me of the days when I encountered the same problem, cutting jackfruit in Malaysia.

Today, it is interesting to find jackfruit flesh popular among vegans. In vegan burgers, for example, the jackfruit flesh is used to make burger patties. The texture of the jackfruit flesh is said to taste like shredded pork and so they are very popular.

Decorate with carrot florets when serving
Decorate with carrot florets when serving

While lemongrass is popular with Thai dishes, it was interesting that Shelly added bay, curry and kafir lime leaves too. The flavours simply exploded with these additional herbs. The sweet potato was another unique touch that gave it a sweet, spicy flavour without the need for sugar.

 

Shelly did not add salt to this dish either because the fish sauce she used is salty enough. Way to go, Shelly! Many of us forget that things like tomato, barbecue or chilli sauce that are usual condiments to fried potato chips already have salt in them and yet they season their fries with additional salt, going overboard on their salt intake.

Another interesting feature is that Shelly used a mortar and pestle to grind the onions, lemongrass, fresh tumeric and galangal ginger instead of using the blender as most of us do. She believes grinding and blending are two different things.

 

“You can control the texture with a mortar and pestle,” she said as she sharpened her chef’s knife on the stone surface of her mortar. “And you can use it to sharpen your knife too.”

Garlic fish sauce condiment
Garlic fish sauce condiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I laughed, remembering another snippet from my childhood, watching my grandmother sharpen knife on the mortar the way Shelly was doing.

Many lovely cooking tips were shared at the workshop such as how to cut carrots to look like florets and slices with shapely patterns. Shelly also pounded the coriander roots to make the curry paste instead of discarding them the way most people do.

 Feasting on Jackfruit Mackerel Curry with rice and garlic chilli fish sauce condiment

Feasting on Jackfruit Mackerel Curry with rice and garlic chilli fish sauce condiment

 

Jackfruit Mackerel Curry

Ingredients

Jackfruit flesh

mackerel fish

2 tbsp fresh tumeric

2 tbsp galangal ginger

6 tbsp fish sauce

chilli powder

Onion

Sweet potato

1 can coconut milk

Roots of the coriander

3 stalks Lemongrass (bruised)

Bay leaves

Curry leaves

Kafir lime leaves

 

 

Method

Pound tumeric and ginger. Then add onion and slowly pound. Finally, add the coriander root and keep pounding. Most people throw the roots away but don’t. you can use this. Leave ground mixture in the mortar and pestle. Add oil and coconut milk and cook for awhile then add the pounded ingredients and stir-fry. Keep adding water if it gets too dry.

Add fish and jackfruit and sweet potato. Stir. Add bay, curry and kafir lime leaves.

 

Additional Tips:

  1. Pound red capsicum with the tumeric, ginger and onion if you want a brighter red colour.
  2. To make garlic chilli fish sauce condiment, chop three cloves garlic, some chilli, fish sauce and onions and place all together in some fish sauce to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Make Your Own Tumeric Powder

Make your own tumeric powder
some of my tumeric harvest for 2017

Tumeric is so much a part of Asian cuisine. I used to watch my mum and grandmother put a dash of tumeric in almost all their dishes, especially the curries. The amount was so small, I never thought tumeric contributed a significant taste to the dish. Today I know it is used in small amounts because :

 

  • It can be pungent and leave a bitter aftertaste if you use too much.

 

  • It helps bring out the flavour of all the other spices and that is why tumeric is a must in Indian curries and a lot of other Asian cuisine too, I might add, such as Thai, Indonesian, Burmese and so on. It is at its best when used with other spices. If you buy commercial curry powder or curry paste the chances are there is tumeric in the blend.

 

  • It has so many health benefits that traditional Indian cooking incorporates them in most of their dishes to make sure tumeric is part of the daily diet. In other words, more for health than taste. Yet I would not rule out tumeric as the main item of prepared food as Jitka Robinson has found this interesting blend that suits her palate: “Tumeric is my favorite super spice I use every day. Try honey and tumeric paste as a delicious topping on your toast. Combine 2 tablespoons of ground tumeric, 1/4 cup of raw honey, pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp of raw unflitered apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil in a bowl. Stir till smooth and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.” Makes about 8 – 10 servings; Tumeric Spread Recipe – Jitka Robinson, Ayurvedic Health Counsellor, Chicago, IL.
Make your own tumeric powder
minced tumeric ready to be placed in the dehydrator

I find it amusing that I can’t seem to pick up a health magazine in Australia that does not laud the benefits of tumeric somewhere amongst their pages when I’ve grown up with it all my life. Tumeric is so precious that when the US issued a patent on it in 1995, India forced them to withdraw that patent. Yet I am aware the tumeric I grew up with as a child is not the same these days. Our food is being tainted more and more in the name of profit for large corporations. So I’d like to show you how to make your own tumeric powder. It’s safer than buying commercial tumeric powder.

Make your own tumeric powder
after dehydrating, the minced tumeric shrinks a little

Make Your Own Tumeric Powder

Commercial tumeric powder contains artificial colour, additives such as rice flour, saw dust, starch and therefore the powder you buy is not pure tumeric.

Furthermore unless you buy organic, the tumeric powder is likely made from tumeric has been sprayed with pesticide and irradiated to keep it from sprouting.

 

I grow tumeric, both in the ground and in pots. If you don’t have much space, tumeric can grow quite well in a pot. I had a great yield of tumeric from growing them in an 85L black plastic pot. I went to a health food store and bought organic tumeric rhizomes.Tumeric is part of the ginger family and like ginger it is the rhizome of the plant that we eat. Choose rhizomes that are young, fresh and plump to grow. You can harvest them in 9 – 10 months after the leaves turn yellow and wilt.

If you have any clumps after grinding simply use the back of a spoon to press down on the clumps and they will break up into fine powder

 

I have tried to store fresh tumeric in the fridge after turning them into paste but if you keep the paste too long it goes bad. One of the reasons is because moisture gets in, allowing mould to develop.

Make your own tumeric powder
It will store in a jar for a long time even up to a year

So after I harvested my tumeric, I minced them using the mincing attachment of my juicer. I prefer this option to a blender because the rapid speed of the blade of a blender and the heat it generates can destroy beneficial enzymes.

I spread out the minced tumeric on my dehydrating trays and dehydrated the tumeric. Once they were completely dry I simply grind them in the dry grinder. Now I have tumeric powder.

Even if you don’t grow tumeric, you can make your own tumeric powder by buying fresh, organic tumeric and you can get them here in Australia at a wholefood shops or at farmer’s markets. You can either mince the way I have done or slice thin and then dehydrate the slices until completely dry. Then powder it in a dry grinder

Health tip:  

  • Curcumin is a powerful anti-oxidant found in tumeric. It also works as an anti-inflammatory in the body which can be a great relief to those suffering chronic pain. Piperine (the heat in black pepper) makes the curcumin in tumeric more readily absorbed by the body. For example adding 20 mg. piperine to curcumin increased its bio-availability by 2000%! So always consume tumeric powder, however you wish to take it, with a little bit of pepper

 

  • I use tumeric in a face mask I make myself as it is great for the skin

 

My husband, Kevin, prepared this dinner below. See if you can guess where the tumeric is? Scroll down past the photo to see the answer.

 

The answer is the salad dressing. Here is the recipe:

Tumeric Ginger Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger

Method

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over salad