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Does tumeric have a taste?

I know it makes things a yellow color. But I'm wondering if it adds anything taste-wise. I think I had heard it doesn't. But it does have a bit of a smell.

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  1. Gingery bitter is how I would describe turmeric flavor. The powder fluoresces under a black light. Groovy.

    1. Yeah ... dried right?

      I went all Martha Stewart one year using natural dyes for my Easter eggs and for yellow I used tuRmeric ... too, too much turmeric ... the taste was sickening and it took me a long time to get over it. Recently I started using it with berber in wots and I'm ok with it again.

      I think this Chow ingrediant article is accurate ... " Dried turmeric is earthier and slightly bitter, with notes of mustard and horseradish and a medicinal powdery aftertaste, especially if overused."
      http://www.chow.com/ingredients/293

      Yeah ... really, really medicinal if overused.

      Hmmm ... until reading that Chow article didn't know there were two types ...

      "Light yellow Madras turmeric is most commonly available and is used primarily for curries, pickles, and mustard; Alleppey turmeric is darker in color due to a higher portion of curcumin (turmeric’s coloring agent) and is noted for its fine flavor and earthy aroma with delicate notes of lemon and mint."

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Hey. sorry to be off topic, but have you posted any recipes for those wots? I'd love to see them...!

        1. re: Kagey

          I've been mainly using this recipe by cayjohan.
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463315

          I get into my little experimentation so mainly I've been trying the berbers from the various Etheopan stores near me.

          Also trying different lentils ... French,black, green, yellow, red. They all work, but I don't know why, but the red which Etheopeans use do work the best though the difference is marginal.

          Also what is important is the spice and not the spiced butter. So I've eliminated the butter part. I saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil or a sprayed pan, and add the spices to that.

          I'm not an injera fan, so I don't include that. But here's alot of info about it and other wat info
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463084

          What I like about wats are they are so quick and easy to make and smell so good. There are times I've skipped the onion/garlic step and just used the lentils and spices and it still tastes good.

          1. re: rworange

            Thanks so much for that, rworange. I'll be trying out that wot recipe soon. No Ethiopian close to me, but I've been craving lentils! Got some good Berbere spice blend too.

      2. Slightly bitter and slightly pungent. Kind of tastes earthy -- a bit like dirt.

        1 Reply
        1. Thanks much. I will use it with a light hand until I know better how we like it. Adding it now.

          4 Replies
          1. re: karykat

            What are you adding it to? I put a half-teaspoon into my homemade chicken soup last night: gives that nice golden color to the soup.

            1. re: mrbozo

              I was adding it to a salad with couscous and roasted chickpeas and onions and a bunch of spices. The recipe was from cookbook of the month, The Flexitarian Table. I did put very little in. I couldn't detect it, but there were a bunch of other spices in there including smoked paprika and cumin seeds. I think the dish will have even more flavor tomorrow and I will check it again then.

              1. re: karykat

                Sounds tasty. Think I'll give it a go since I just finished refreshing my supply of herbs and spices.

            2. re: FrankJBN

              Yes, I could have. But then I wouldn't have learned everything I've gotten from this thread.

            3. As EA describes, when uncooked, powdered tumeric has a gingery bitterish taste (a bit acquired taste I think). But after it is cooked down, it hardly has any taste, just a little something in the background. Raw and fresh tumeric on the other hand retains its taste even after it has cooked down.

              7 Replies
              1. re: cpw

                I used it to tint my vegan challah and just a pinch added no flavor I could discern but a new eggy color.

                1. re: cpw

                  What do you mean when you say raw and fresh? What form is it in? A root? A bark? Do you literally mean in the original form it grows in? Just wondering?

                  1. re: karykat

                    Actually, I see the link that rworange posted answers my question. It says the fresh stuff is a rhizome that is sold in some asian markets.

                    1. re: karykat

                      Fresh tumeric looks identical to fresh ginger

                      1. re: rworange

                        Except smaller and more orange colored than ginger.

                    2. re: karykat

                      Tumeric is a root of a plant which looks like a carrot plant and the root itself looks like ginger, infact you could mistake for a plumpy and wet ginger. One big difference in the looks is, that when you scratch it, the flesh is bright orangish yellow. This root is dried and powdered as sold in stores.

                    3. re: cpw

                      I've never seen it fresh except on TV. What does it taste like. Any resemblance to whole dried? It looks so pretty with that vibrant orange/gold color.

                    4. It tastes like stirred-puddle water 3 days after a rain.

                      1. It is a root and looks kind of like a skinny yellow ginger. You could use it raw, dried, or the most common form of powder.

                        In South Asian food it is added in very small quantities like 1/2-1 tsp per dish, never more and it is thought of as a digestive and an anti-septic, and also it supposedly kills fishy or meaty smells, it is not really a flavoring agent. In a very few dishes it is used for the color.

                        It does have an earthy, pungent and slightly bitter flavor, but you should never have used so much of it that you can actually taste that flavor. That is the problem with many commerically available so called curry powders, there is too much turmeric in it.

                        1. Definitely adds an earthy, musty taste, though I've never found it bitter.

                          And in case you haven't figured it out yet, don't wear any clothes you're afraid to ruin while cooking with turmeric. It's the only stain I've ever been consistently unable to remove.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kagey

                            a thread on removing turmeric stains -- at least on countertops!
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352661

                            maybe its time for a new thread in "not about food" for removing turmeric stains from clothing.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Actually, countertops are ok for me. I find that the stain eventually fades with regular daily wiping and cleaning. Might take a week or so, but it does go away!

                          2. In Nicole Routhier's Vietnamese cookbook there is a recipe for cauliflower cooked in coriander and (dried) turmeric. Besides the color, the turmeric does give an essential earthiness to the dish, which is one of my favorites.

                            It is the only dish I can think of where the flavor of the turmeric is actually essential.

                            BB