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Ginger and Turmeric: A Healthful Combination for Your Holiday Cuisine

Delicious, hearty and smooth soup with a little zing.

The holiday season is here. It is time to celebrate and enjoy nourishing food with your family and friends. There are many foods and recipes out there but if you are like most people, you want something special for Thanksgiving.

What if you can enjoy a great meal and also be nourished at the same time with a little jamu-ingredient inspired dishes? It might be a lot to whip up some Indonesian herbal tonics for the family to share, but we can use some of the ingredients  in our dishes to give it a little zing?

Indonesia has been a spice island for centuries. Located among ancient trading paths and wealthy with botanical sources, these distant islands quickly became a global interest centuries ago. Spices were valued not just for their flavor, but also for their capacity to disguise spoiled foods, freshen breath, and remedy health issues. These local spices and ingredients also evolved to be the backbone of Indonesia’s herbal healing tradition – jamu, which has been a secret health booster for centuries. In addition to other herbs, it features two simple but powerful ingredients: Turmeric and Ginger. Turmeric and ginger have some scientifically-backed health benefits which we will explore below, so why not include it with the meals?

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric active component is curcumin and it has the following health benefits.

1. Anti-inflammatory Effect

Inflammation occurs in your body all the time.  It helps to fight foreign bodies and also repair tissue damage, but prolonged inflammation can cause chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Turmeric can help fight inflammation without the side effects common with prescription drugs.

2. Anti-Oxidant Properties

Your body’s biological processes generate some molecules known as free radicals which can attack cells and tissue to cause chronic diseases. Curcumin in Turmeric can help your body neutralize these radicals so you can live a healthy life.

3. Fights Aging

Many chronic diseases reduce longevity. By preventing the development of such disease, turmeric will help to reduce the effects of aging. It can also keep your organs healthy and functional.

Health Benefits of Ginger

1. Relieves Nausea

Some diseases and drugs induce nausea. Ginger can help fight nausea and related conditions such as morning sickness and vomiting. It is a safe alternative to anti-nausea drugs.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar

For people suffering from diabetes, food choice is a challenge. Ginger’s strong anti-diabetic effects and can help lower blood sugar after meal.

3. Relieves Indigestion

Indigestion is a common ailment caused by a delay in emptying the stomach. It is more common in the festive period when people eat more food than usual. Ginger can help you speed up the transit of food out of your stomach. In the process, it helps prevent the accumulation and fermentation of undigested food.

Ginger and Turmeric Recipes

Now that you know some of the health benefits of turmeric and ginger, you may be wondering how to use them in your dishes this coming Thanksgiving.
No problem, we have compiled some recipes for your enjoyment!

Turmeric-Ginger Soup

This is a delicacy you can enjoy with friends and family for Thanksgiving or anytime of the year (think of a chilled tropical version of a vichyssoise for the summer months, cool, refreshing and satisfying!). Turmeric and ginger provide a lot of flavor to the soup without the added sodium or fat that is common with seasonings. The hearty vegetables also provide fiber and a smooth, comforting & delicious flavor.

Serves 4
1. 4 medium carrots, peeled
2. 4 sweet potatoes, peeled
3. 3 Cups of water
4. 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5. 1 inch fresh ginger
6. 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
7. 1 Tablespoon salt

Garnish if desired:  toasted pumpkin seeds, yogurt, finely chopped fresh sage or parsley

1. Slice the carrots and cube the potatoes
2. Peel and dice the ginger (using a spoon to peel ginger is the best and easiest way)
3. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for two hours on high
4. Puree with an immersion blender or put into regular blender (be careful, take the removable part of the blender’s lid off, and cover loosely with a thick clean kitchen towel before blending..this will allow the steam to escape and prevent splattering/burns to yourself and your entire kitchen!).  Serve with a dollop of yogurt and top with toasted pumpkin seeds and finely chopped herbs, if desired.  Enjoy!

Turmeric Black Beans and Rice

This staple food recipe is great for entertaining your family and guests on Thanksgiving or related holidays. Plus, this recipe uses rice, which is Indonesia’s staple food, dating as far back as early as 2300 B.C.!

Serves 4
1. 8 ounces smoked turkey sausage or vegetarian sausage, crumbled
2. 1 Cup diced onion
3. 1 can rinsed black beans
4.  2-1/2 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
5. 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6. 1 Cup brown rice
7. 1 whole medium ripe avocado, and washed cilantro for garnish

1. Add crumbled sausage to the a medium sized (2-3 quart capacity) sauce pan (add a little bit of oil if you’re using vegetarian sausage) and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned. Transfer the sausage from the pan, set it aside.
2. Add onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, until softened
3. Add the turmeric and rice, saute for about a minute, then add the broth
4. Stir and allow to come to a boil, bring the heat down to a steady simmer with a closed lid (You’ll know if you need to crank the heat down if you notice excess steam escaping through the lid of the pan).  Simmer until water has almost completely evaporated, about 35 to 40 minutes.  Add back in the browned sausage and the can of rinsed black beans.  Allow to cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, keep pan covered, and let rice cool about 10 minutes.
5. Using a fork or a pair of chopsticks, gently fluff the rice, mixing in the sausage and black beans gently.  Serve with diced avocado, and chopped cilantro as garnish.  Enjoy!

The Indonesian Jamu stood the test of time because it is an effective tradition. This is why we based our skincare line JUARA on the Jamu’s principles backed by science. JUARA products are made with turmeric, ginger and other proprietary herbal and spice blends to help you achieve a healthy and glowing skin, but it’s great to remember not only can ginger and turmeric nourish your skin, it can also nourish our tummies and add to our enjoyment this coming Thanksgiving!

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