Turmeric has been used in Tamilnadu for thousands of years and is a major part of Siddha medicine. It was first used as a dye and then later for its medicinal properties.
Turmeric is a perennial herbaceous plant, which reaches a stature of up to 1 meter. There are highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes. The leaves are alternate and arranged in two rows . They are divided into leaf sheath, petiole and leaf blade. From the leaf sheaths, a false stem is formed. The petiole is 50 to 115 cm long. The simple leaf blades are usually of a length of 76 to 115 cm and rarely up to 230 cm. They have a width of 38 to 45 cm and are oblong to elliptic narrowing at the tip
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Tamil traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric in food for its potential medicinal value, which is a topic of active research. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine.
Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, but is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake Sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut-jaggery mixture on the leaf, and then closing and steaming it in a special copper steamer (goa).
In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
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