I traveled to the Middle East in the beginning of January, and of course returned with as many spices as I could fit into my luggage. This included half a kilo(!) of turmeric, one of my favorite spices. I have so much of it that I've expanded my already abundant turmeric usage to include savory and sweet things, whether for dinner or breakfast.
Turmeric tastes amazingly bitter, metallic, and brightly warming. Almost like a sunflower that grew out of a copper penny. I'm sure you've seen it popping up everywhere for its "wellness" benefits. Honestly, I hate talking about health benefits when I'm talking about food. Because if you eat natural, unprocessed foods, it's all going to be good for you. BUT, the list is endless: turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, increases antioxidants in the body, and can help fight against cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis, and even depression. There are more on Healthline's article about the benefits of turmeric here.
It's important to stress the importance of using high quality, fresh spices. Especially with turmeric, poorly produced spices are often mixed with additives to give it color and who knows what else. You won't get the benefits or the proper flavor if you're not buying good spices. And yes, they're expensive. Cough up the extra change, it's well worth it. The turmeric that's been sitting in your spice cabinet since college will not taste good in oatmeal!
Besides the flavor and health, turmeric is just really beautiful. Its deep golden color will stain your fingers and your countertops, and I always love painting my kitchen with food. I'll never forget the look my badass sous chef gave me when I told her that I didn't want to use any gloves to peel the red beets, that I liked the way they turned my fingers pink. It was a look of surprise, excitement, and recognition. Similar to being at a bus stop and noticing that the stranger sitting next to you is reading the same quarterly magazine that is entirely dedicated to fermentation. "Oh! You're a badass too!"
You know those mornings when you're just craving something warm? Like oatmeal? That was me the other day. So I made some turmeric coconut oatmeal, and it was home.
Turmeric Coconut Oatmeal
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup stone rolled oats (stop buying instant oatmeal you lazy asshole)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 cups of your choice of milk (whole milk, nut milk, coconut milk, etc)
- Garnish: yogurt, pomegranate seeds, more coconut, more honey, flaky sea salt
- Optional: add fresh grated ginger for added spice; substitute the milk for water for less calories; omit the honey if you prefer it unsweetened
- Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a pot
- Toast turmeric and cinnamon until fragrant, for about 30 seconds.
- Add oats. Stir until coated with the spices and slightly toasted, about 30 seconds
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low until oats are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes depending on the kind of oats you have (Irish steel cut or whole grain oats will take the longest, probably around 20-30 minutes).
- Serve into two bowls. Garnish with yogurt, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, and coconut flakes. Drizzle honey and flake some Maldon on the honey.