Breaded Cauliflower Bites

I adapted this recipe from this one by JoCooks. While I was preparing the ingredients, I decided to add turmeric to the egg mixture. It was a natural decision for me; the box of turmeric was sitting next to the other ingredients I was pulling from the cabinet and I thought, “Hey, why not?” Turmeric is something I’ve grown up with my entire life. I was born in India and raised in an Indian household, so it’s no surprise that turmeric is used in most of the dishes I consume. 

But we don’t just use it in our cuisine. It is often used in prayer to Hindu deities. Some use the turmeric to mold into a likeness or representation of the deity. Others cover the faces of the statues of the Gods in turmeric.

Kanakadurgamma
Idol of Kanakadurga at the Kanakadurga Temple in Vijayawada depicts face covered in turmeric
We offer it to devotees at poojas, who take a small amount to spread over their forehead or neck; married women will also apply it to their mangala sutra, which is the Hindu equivalent of a wedding ring.

Jodhaa Akbar Prayer Scene
Scene from Jodhaa Akbar shows a prayer plate with turmeric
It also plays a role in social ceremonies, such as marriage. In the haldi ceremony, loved ones will spread a paste of turmeric on the bride and grooms face, arms, and feet. This is done because turmeric is thought to protect the couple from the evil eye, because the color is considered auspicious, to beautify the skin and act as an antiseptic. But it’s also a fun part of the nuptial celebrations!

haldi-pic
Scene from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani shows the haldi ceremony
The reason for my having this discussion now is the introduction of the turmeric latte, which is just become the next big drink. I know that some of my peers view this as the latest example of cultural appropriation and, to an extent, I agree. If you want to join in the legacy, then by all means! I only ask that you try to understand and respect its cultural significance. Because it’s not just another health fad; turmeric has been an important aspect of South Asian cultural practices for millennia!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp turmeric

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare a baking trays with silicone baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl beat the eggs and add chili powder, salt, oregano, and turmeric. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Dip each cauliflower floret in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. Place each floret on a silicone baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the florets are golden brown.

IMG_3795

On another note, I thought this would also be a good opportunity to discuss the health benefits of turmeric. There has been a lot of research into turmerics effects on cancers, bone growth, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. While I don’t have the space here to summarize all of the findings, I will discuss a few.

A study by Kim et al found that turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects by the inhibition of NF-κB.* NF-κB regulates genes that increase cell-proliferation; therefore, mutations in the gene can lead to disregulated cell growth, causing tumors. The study found that turmeric inhibited cancer cell proliferation by this action. NF-κB is involved in many cellular pathways and the researchers note that the inhibition of NF-κB also decreases the actions of RANKL. RANKL is involved in increasing osteoclast activity, which are the cells that break down bone.  The class of drugs known as bisphosphonates inhibits the activity of these same cells to treat conditions such as osteoporosis. Therefore, with further research, Kim et al suggest that turmeric might also be used to a similar end. 

Another study by Hanai et al looks at the effects of curcumin (the active component of turmeric) in ulcerative colitis.** In this randomized, double-blind study, they assigned 89 patients to either the placebo or curcumin group. All the patients were treated with sulfasalazine or mesalamine, which is the standard treatment for ulcerative colitis, plus curcumin or a placebo. Over a six-month period, the researchers found that patients who consumed curcumin had fewer relapses compared with the placebo. While the study is not conclusive, it does present a promising treatment for irritable bowel disease.

References: 

*Kim, J. et al (2012). Turmeric (Curcuma longa) inhibits inflammatory nuclear factor (NF)-κB and NF-κB-regulated gene products and induces death receptors leading to suppressed proliferation, induced chemosensitization, and suppressed osteoclastogenesis. Mol Nutr Food Res, 56(3), 454-465. Retrieved May 28, 2016.

**Hanai, H. (2006). Curcumin Maintenance Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis: Randomized, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol., 4, 1502-1506. Retrieved May 28, 2016.

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