Life on the road means making simple meals. I’m limited to locally available ingredients that I can purchase in small quantities. It is definitely a shift in mindset not to have my usual kitchen stocked with all my favorite pantry staples. This is a good exercise for me because I enjoy the hunt to find great flavor with simple ingredients.
I was thrilled to find fresh turmeric at the market recently and knew I wanted to build a meal around this ingredient. It’s hard to find fresh turmeric in the States and it’s one of my favorite spices. I typically use it dried at home, but I’ve had it fresh before and really liked the sharper taste. I actually saw turmeric growing at Villa Vanilla in Costa Rica last winter (remember my post about the health benefits of their ceylon cinnamon). It grows as a rhizome similar to ginger (and is technically part of the ginger family). You harvest the rhizome root to dry and use as a spice.
I have talked about the health benefits of turmeric before, but it is worth repeating since it’s such a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. I use turmeric in my cooking often, as well as taking it as an herbal supplement. Many herbs are really best absorbed by the body when used in food, but turmeric is an exception. It is equally bio-availble as a supplement (usually a capsule of the powdered herb).
Inflammation is at the root of many problems in the body – heart disease, allergies, digestive issues, and arthritis to name a few. Many herbs and plants have anti-inflammatory properties, but turmeric is one of the most powerful. Similarly, its strong anti-oxidant levels are important for cancer prevention.
I peeled and diced my fresh turmeric (left), as well as some fresh ginger and garlic. I ended with about three tablespoons of each, but there is no need to be exact. Toss the spices into a pan with a generous amount of olive oil.
Add the carrots and mix until everything is coated with olive oil. Saute on medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes. The carrots should be cooked through, but still crunchy, and the olive oil should be infused with the flavors of the spices.
Taste the carrots as they cook and pull them off the heat when they taste good to you. Spinkle with salt and pepper and serve. These make a great side dish, light meal, or addition to a bed of greens. They are easy, quick, and incredibly healthy. This was one of T’s favorite things that I’ve ever made — proof that simple ingredients really can make excellent meals!