Turmeric in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a leafy plant in the ginger family. The root, or rhizome, has a tough brown skin and bright orange flesh. Ground Turmeric comes from fingers which extend from the root. It is boiled or steamed and then dried, and ground.
Turmeric is a necessary ingredient of curry powder. It is used extensively in Indian dishes, including lentil and meat dishes, and in South-east Asian cooking. Turmeric is routinely added to mustard blends and relishes. It also is used in place of saffron to provide colour and flavour.
Because of its bitter taste, Turmeric should not be used as a flavour substitute for saffron. A Turmeric stain can be washed out with soap and water if treated quickly. Use Turmeric to add Eastern mystery to new favourites as well as in traditional curries, rice and chicken dishes, and condiments. Turmeric is a classic addition to chutneys, pickles, and relishes. Add a pinch of Turmeric to fish soups. Blend with melted butter and drizzle over cooked vegetables, pasta, or potatoes.
Turmeric is mildly aromatic and has scents of orange or ginger. It has a pungent, bitter flavour.
India is the world's primary producer of Turmeric. It is also grown in China and Indonesia.
Turmeric helps detoxify the body, and protects the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol, toxic chemicals, and even some pharmaceutical drugs. Turmeric stimulates the production of bile, which is needed to digest fat. Turmeric also guards the stomach by killing salmonella bacteria and protozoa that can cause diarrhoea.