Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Favorite Peruvian Dish

Two of the Herbal Husband's favorite foods are on the plate to the left, beans and rice. He even likes burned rice at the bottom of the pot! He spiced the rice up with a little turmeric, organic peas and red pepper. Curcuma longa or turmeric comes from the Arabic kurkum, meaning saffron, a yellow dye. The plant is grown in India, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. It is a dark yellow powder, tasting similar to ginger, slightly bitter and pungent, gives a pleasant flavoring and a golden yellow color to food. The color is long-lasting, the flavor is fleeting, so it is used in small amounts. Turmeric is one of nine standard ingredients of Indian curry (the others being ginger, cardamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and cinnamon). It is also used as dyeing materials and leathers. I found this information in Simon & Schuster's Guide to Herbs and Spices. I have always thought it strange that beans and rice are on the same plate. The Herbal Husband told me that in the 17th century Chinese coolies were brought over to Peru to work in the fields and rice was grown. Always learning something new!

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