Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an essential ingredient for many of the curries found in Indian cuisine. When I first began exploring the spices that are the basis for these spice blends, I assumed they might function similarly to basil where an extra “bit” might not change a dish too much. I learned quickly that these spices have far more potent flavors and with turmeric, less can be more.
In recent years, studies have found that one of the active ingredients in turmeric, curcumin, has far-reaching health benefits. Incorporating it daily through curries has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Defined in Ayurveda as having primarily the bitter and pungent taste, it has many functions on the subtle energy systems of the body, and in low doses is known to be balancing on all the doshas.
The orange color in turmeric, squash, and sweet potatoes indicates the presence of carotenoids like beta-carotene which are potent antioxidants and fat soluble. This means that you need at least ½ teaspoon of a fat like olive oil or ghee in the meal to properly absorb all the nutrients present.
Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are often made during the holiday season and as leftovers can be made into a lovely curry soup. Fresh ingredients can also be used. Brazil nuts are not imperative to add in this dish; however they add a wonderful creamy flavor and are rich in micronutrients like selenium, which is low in many diets and believed to play a role in immunity via its ability to assist in antioxidant reactions.
This recipe allows for a lot of flexibility as 3 cups of any root vegetable blend can be used.
If using cooked leftover squash and sweet potatoes, the cooking time can be reduced. However, 20 minutes is the minimum for all the flavors to combine properly.