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Turmeric & Galangal Paste


Turmeric roots

Galangal roots – must be fresh (ratio is one quarter galangal to three quarters turmeric)

2-3 cloves garlic

2 small red chillies or to taste

3cm piece of fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil



Process all ingredients finely – a food processor is best, a blender motor probably won’t handle this easily – until it is paste-like.  Heat oil in a pan and gently cook the paste, stirring occasionally, until all excess moisture has been removed.  If paste appears too dry, stir through extra oil until required consistency.  Spoon paste into sterilised jars, cover top of paste with extra oil and store in the fridge.  This paste will last 12 months in the fridge.

Paste can be used as a base in any recipe calling for a curry flavour – just add other spices to suit.

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I don't have the Galangal but have some fresh Turmeric and it sounds like a lovely paste to have on hand. As indeed does a similar Chilli paste - has a proper name, forget it just now - treated similarly and lasts well too so I read. Thanks for that recipe!

Harissa, that's the name I was looking for.

It looked handy. And easy.

My Turmeric is still sitting dormant but very healthy and bright coloured in the pot. I expect it will shoot for me in Spring. The Galangal is spreading nicely.

There are over 7,000 studies researching the efficacy of turmeric and it’s active component curcumin. While this isn't culinary, the supplement 'recipe' outlined  here may be useful to ensure you get your daily curcumin hit:

Nonetheless, I recall that to get a therapeutic dose of Curcumin from consumption at normal meal times you'd need to eat 4 servings of curry per day.That is: given the usual amount of Tumeric in a curry -- let's say one heaped teaspoon -- divided among those who'd shared each meal. I point out that the  marriage with piperin (and maybe an oil) is a key  pairing for good absorption.

If you wanted to use the above recipe as a supplement mix (and ginger has similar anti emetic and analgesic properties as Tumeric) my guess is that you could add some pepper as well as, or instead of, the chillies.

However, the active ingredient in chillies -- capsaicin -- also has significant analgesic properties. But the research on Curcumin is more supportive of that over capsaicum.

I take Tumeric supplements daily and have been fascinated with the spice for some time. It absolutely works on me and has had a significant impact on my pain level and mobility. But I take 1200 mg daily.You gotta take it routinely you see...and  at a  consistent therapeutic dosage.

You can get Curcumin drinks (eg: effervescent sachets, as a tea, even in bottles like Zingiwell, etc) and I wonder if the above recipe lends itself to any of  that? But as you are warned:

If you are getting curcumin from a turmeric drink or supplement, you can expect a yield of about 3 percent (so 10g turmeric, the amount found in common turmeric drinks, will give you 300mg curcumin). Without an absorption enhancer such as piperine, you can't expect much of that curcumin to be taken up by your body, although not all is lost, as the spice can still provide benefits to your intestinal track.

After pushing drugs as a profession for some time --I was a nurse -- 'therapeutic dose' is where it's at. Without it registering in the bloodstream you may as well not bother taking the drug or supplement in the first place. I also don't trust Tumeric spice powder as a supplement because I don't know how old it is when I buy it and all drugs have a shelf life and a half life(ie: how much Cucurmin remains, say, after 24 hours in your body).That's why I appreciate the possibilities of the paste recipe above. But then, fresh Tumeric is going to be less concentrated with Curcumin than to get the 'hit' you'd hypothetically need to consume more fresh Tumeric than the powdered form.I know that may seem counter intuitive, but when you are chasing a specific dosage  it's about chemistry and not the vehicle you use to  ferry it into your mouth.

Is fresh tumeric better absorbed than the powdered form? I know of no research that has explored that option.

But as the DIY  Bomb recipe hints at -- what's to stop you buying capsules, opening them (screw the two ends in opposite directions) and adding the contents to a drink, dish or curry paste?

Even to your morning porridge...?

[That's not so bizarre when you consider that the Scots traditionally ate  their porridge with salt.]

However much we both like Turmeric in cooking, and I've started adding it to juice now, we found the therapeutic dose made us sick. Don't recall specifically but as soon as we stopped taking it, the symptoms subsided. Dang it! It sounded just the ticket but like Coconut oil, it upset both of us. And we love the flavour of Coconut. You win some, you lose some.

What a pity. The stuff is so good for a number of conditions.For pain the chilli option or ginger intake may be more suitable --as I'm sure you know. But you'd really need to generate a keen chilli addiction to be able to take it orally as therapy.(I've known folk who begin their day with chilli!--as I would coffee.Chilli is addictive. ) The advantage with dosing up on ginger is that it is also an anti-emetic but it can have side effects too. But then there's not the absorption issues and research suggests that  a few tablespoons of grated ginger can even help ease muscle pain caused by exercise. The recommended dosage is also lower than Curcumin -- 100 to 200mg of ginger.

Dr. Srivastava's Danish study   found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level: to block the formation of inflammatory compounds. Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds-prostaglandins and leukotrienes-and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.... The amount used in Dr. Srivastava's study was 5 grams of fresh ginger or 1 tsp of dried ginger, in divided doses throughout the day. Fresh or dried ginger can be added to stir-fries, curries, soups, or made into tea. You can add a few tablespoons to your diet by grating ginger over a salad or into a stir fry. There's also ginger jubes (like the tasty bears!)and pickled many excuses to ginger up!

As for coconut oil, if you mix  it 1:1:1 with Olive Oil and Sesame Oil it is daily available  for cooking without having to worry about melting it down.

My wife hates coconut oil and would object at the smell any time I tried to use it. In making the mix -- esp the sesame oil -- I've got around her protests and she doesn't notice at all now, even when previously she said the smell and taste made her sick.

So now I don't cook with pure coconut oil and the oil blend contains an equal balance of Omega 3, 6, and 9. If you are 'into oils' and against PUFA -- the blend is the way to go.


Sounds interesting. I love Olive myself but usually don't cook with it. In the interests of domestic harmony I use Macadamia or Grapeseed and keep the Olive for salad.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids--PUFA -- in that seed and vegetable oils – soy, canola, peanut, and the rest of the crew – may be a  major contributors to modern disease.

The whole oil story is reviewed HERE.  Recommended.

I'm not a purist but I since my diet is low carbohydrate and high fat (LCHF)  I take my fats seriously. People don't eat PUFAs for the same reason we may  consume fish oils. It's the Omega story.

So in my kitchen my everyday oils are Olive, Sesame (only in combo usually) , Coconut,  butter, cream and dripping. Obviously I'm not signed up to the fat-is-bad petition. Fats also become an issue because if you eat fewer carbs, what caloric intake will you use to replace them rather than eat more protein?


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