International cooking for the youthful malcontent.

WTF is Turmeric?

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric is a powdered spice. The taste and smell is slightly bitter, and earthy. In Western cooking, it’s usually used for it’s colour only, which is mustard yellow (your basic yellow hot dog mustard has turmeric in it, for example). The plant itself, however, is native to South Asia (southern Indian states being the largest producers in the world). In non-Western cooking, turmeric often features as a main ingredient in curry powders and curry recipes. The spice, used in quantity, adds a mild but characteristic spiciness, and is often used to colour rice dishes a golden yellow.

It’s mostly used in savoury dishes. For instance, I have had delicious deep-fried chicken wings left overnight in a turmeric and salt mix (rather than coating the wings in flour, turmeric will give you the same crispiness, but also a great mild curry flavour) My previous Cucur recipe also features turmeric as a prime flavour additive.

Turmeric is pretty easy to find. It should be at any grocery store or spice rack. If you go to a South Asian market (or a store that stocks a lot of spices), you can find very large bags of turmeric for about the same price as you will pay for a small jar of it elsewhere. Just in case you ever need a few pounds of turmeric.

A word of caution though, because of it’s colour properties, turmeric can stain your clothes. I could tell you how to get the stain out, but this isn’t a laundry blog.


3 responses

  1. Hiya – this post reminded me of this blog entry, too:


    December 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  2. Paul

    Turmeric loses its flavor more quickly than most other spices, when powdered. Some asian grocery chains (such as the Canadian TNT Supermarket) located in large cities routinely carry it in its original root form. It looks like miniature ginger and is sold in packs in the herbs/produce section.

    Like ginger, the root form freezes well and lasts much longer, with better flavour. Also, like ginger, it grates very easily with a rasp grate into a fine fluffy powder if you grate it when frozen. It doesn’t stick to the grate like a pile of mush.

    December 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

  3. Pingback: Cucur Udang « No More Microwaves

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