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The healing touch

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A healthy soup with lentils, pomegranate and turmeric

Turmeric has been used through the ages as a condiment, medicine and textile dye. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. This herb's flavour is peppery, warm and bitter while its fragrance is mild and reminiscent of orange and ginger, to which it is related.

Turmeric is native to Indonesia and South India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years. .

Turmeric powder should kept in a tightly-sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Fresh turmeric rhizomes should be kept in the refrigerator. Be careful when using turmeric, since its deep colour can easily stain. If you are able to find turmeric rhizomes in the grocery store, you can make turmeric powder at home by boiling, drying and then grinding them finely. Turmeric is an excellent source of iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fibre and potassium.

Now, for a recipe.

Pomegranate and lentil soup

Ingredients

Gram dal: 120 gm

Butter: Three tbsp

Onion (diced): one

Garlic (minced): two cloves

Water: 400 ml

Long-grain rice: 50 gm Turmeric: one tsp

Salt and freshly-ground pepper: To taste

Fresh basil (chopped): 30 gm

Green onion (chopped): 30 gm

Pomegranate juice: 80 ml

Chopped fresh mint (two tbsp) or crushed dried mint (two tsp)

Raisins: 2 tbsp

Method: Rinse lentils and set aside to drain. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add sweet onions and toss. Gently sauté onions until soft, for about three minutes. Add garlic and sauté for two minutes. Add water, drained lentils, rice, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low flame for about 45 minutes, until lentils and rice are tender. Add basil, green onions, and pomegranate juice to the soup. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of butter in a small skillet, and add mint and sauté until the butter turns golden. Drizzle this on top of the soup, and sprinkle a few raisins before serving.

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