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fresh turmeric root... how to use it?

I impulsively bought some fresh turmeric root as a friend was espousing its various health benefits. I have no idea what to do with it, really. I love using Indian spices, but I don't know how fresh turmeric really acts in a dish. Any ideas? Many thanks!

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  1. You don't have to do anything special with it, other than grating or grinding it very finely; I use a general "fresh herb" subtitution ration of 3 to 1 (1 tbs fresh for 1 tsp dried.) I scrape the skin off with a spoon, like ginger, I don't know what native cooks do. Be warned, it stains anything remotely porous even worse than the powder does!

    1. I just made this version of Beef Rendang over the weekened using fresh turmeric (http://rasamalaysia.com/beef-rendang-... ), which came out pretty well. I skimped on the sugar to start, then had to add more later to give needed depth of flavor, and inadvertently used more galangal than it called for, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe as given. The only major advice I have is to watch for burning and sticking - coconut milk singes more easily than typical braising liquids.

      I haven't made it yet, but this recipe (http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/reci... ) is next on my fresh-turmeric list, I think....

      1. Try some grated turmeric when cooking rice. It gives rice a nice golden color. We've been doing it for years.

        1. Turmeric root doesn't have the burn of ginger, but it is a bit tangy, on it's own, but the fresh stuff is much more subtle yet richer than it's powdered and processed counterpart. It teams well with many spices, as it does with curries and such.

          Peeled and grated, I like it as part of the mix in meat dishes extended with egg and breadcrumbs, like chicken burgers. meatballs, salmon patties, meatloaf.

          Like ginger, if you squeeze peeled and grated root in a garlic press you get a nice (orange) juice out of it. You can do a million things with this- add to soups, rice dishes, salad dressings, etc. I often grate and squeeze ginger and garlic with it as a finishing touch bit of flavor right before serving.

          I often team it with ground coriander seeds and peppercorns.

          For a healthy snack you can grate it into plain yogurt, with vanilla and a little honey, maybe some grated carrot too.

          It will stain anything, especially your grater or cutting board. I don't really care myself. Doesn't stain the pots or plates. Grating it will make your fingernails yellow for a day or two. Wear gloves if that's a problem.

          I save all the peelings and the juiced pulp for the bag of frozen vegetable matter I use for stock. Same with the garlic and ginger scraps.

          If you love the flavor, as I do, there's no end with what you can do with it. Since I can get it so easily in Jackson Heights, I almost never end up using the powder, which is much less interesting.

          1. fresh turmeric root... how to use it?
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            Judiciously.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              no kidding. we add some when we juice for the purported health benefits, and on the times when Whole Foods is out of turmeric root...the juice tastes SO much better.

              I used the powder last week when I realized halfway through a paella that i was out of saffron. Good color...not in love wiht the taste. But if you LIKE that taste, I would think grating in to paella would be an excellent use.

              1. re: danna

                If you don't like the taste of tumeric root, why in the world would you reply to a post asking how to use it in cooking?

                1. re: kitchenprof

                  because I have the intellectual capacity to understand the flavor profile even though I don't personaly care for it.

                  1. re: danna

                    Excellent response to "kitchenproof".

                  2. re: kitchenprof

                    "for the purported health benefits"

              2. I think the most important use is as a base ingredient in Thai curry pastes. I'm not aware of any uses of fresh turmeric in Indian cuisine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: AlkieGourmand

                  http://www.helpwithcooking.com/spice-...

                  "Turmeric is a spice that is native to S.E. Asia and is predominantly cultivated and used in India and in Indian cuisine.

                  It is a member of the ginger family and is treated in much the same way, yet turmeric is bright yellow-orange in colour and has often been called the "Indian saffron".

                2. in my family, my mom (indian; gujarati) used to peel and slice it a little thicker than matchsticks and mix with lemon juice, a little chili powder and salt, this would hang out in a clear glass bottle for about a week (so it pickled a bit in the acid sometimes with additions of carrots, slivered long hot peppers and lemon wedges) and then was served to us on the side like a pickled vegetable to add crunch to our meals.
                  but they are not joking about the stains, it will not come off your clothing so eat with caution.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: pie22

                    Do you have to refrigerate while it is pickling? Sounds as if the jar is sitting on the table or counter, but want to make sure. Also, did your mom every chop it this way to add to soup. I do this with ginger but am about to try it with some fresh tumeric.

                    1. re: terryellis

                      if i recall correctly, it pickled in a cabinet but once open and we started using it, it went into the fridge. it was basically chopped a little thicker than a matchstick...unsure the soup reference, usually my soup veggies are diced.

                      1. re: pie22

                        Thank you! I went ahead and refrigerated the glass jar and will taste test the pickles tonight! Using some of the other suggestions here, I also added fresh ginger to the lemon juice and salt.
                        I also tried dicing the fresh tumeric and adding it to the soup, which consisted of a mixture of organic mushroom and chicken broth, escarole, chick peas and Chinese mung bean noodles. I liked the result. The small pieces of tumeric were still crisp and, as you mentioned, added a pleasant crunchy touch to the otherwise soft ingredients. The taste was mild although the color remained on my teeth and tongue until I brushed!!

                        1. re: pie22

                          Thank you! I went ahead and refrigerated the glass jar and will taste test the pickles tonight! Using some of the other suggestions here, I also added fresh ginger to the lemon juice and salt.
                          I also tried dicing the fresh tumeric and adding it to the soup, which consisted of a mixture of organic mushroom and chicken broth, escarole braised with garlic in grapeseed oil, precooked chick peas and Chinese mung bean (clear) noodles. I liked the result. The small pieces of tumeric were still crisp and, as you mentioned, added a pleasant crunchy touch to the otherwise soft ingredients. The taste was mild although the color remained on my teeth and tongue until I brushed!!

                    2. I've used it in place of yellow mustard (to which turmeric provides the color and flavor) , a bit shredded into potato salad.

                      1. It's good chopped up in any kind of slaw. I make all kinds -- no recipes, just throwing it together any combination of red cabbage, daikon, carrots, green onions, ginger, turmeric -- some with sesame oil and rice vinegar for an Asian twist and some more traditional with mayo and other kinds of vinegars, orange peel, tangerine peel, etc. It all goes!

                        1 Reply
                        1. btw, adding turmeric to cruciferous veggies like cabbage and broccoli has a synergetic cancer-protective health benefit. The combo of phytonutrients packs a protective punch! Fresh ginger and fresh turmeric are also great in a raw broccoli slaw or in melted butter or ghee over steamed broccoli or cauliflower.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: TheSpiceGeek

                            I hesitate to post this, but I remember I liked to drink some scalded milk with a little sweetener (honey?) before bed. I tried this with some turmeric root added to it and I thought it was comforting and pretty tasty, but it's been some time since I drank this - I stopped consuming dairy.

                            1. re: herbwise

                              I believe your speaking of the drink called Golden Milk. Its so good.

                          2. I put fresh fresh organic turmeric in my smoothie every morning.

                            Try this combo. Cantaloupe, pineapple, water, parsley, celery, and fresh turmeric root. Throw it in the vitamix. It doesn't stain it either.

                            You can also add it to eggs in the morning. But unlike the powdered kind, you want to add fresh Grated turmeric towards the end of dishes so it wont burn and also to preserve its flavor.
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                            Persian eggs: Saute some onions, mushrooms and salt in some olive oil (I mix equal parts OO and butter) until light golden brown. Add in beaten eggs and Grated turmeric (beaten with a dash of milk and salt to taste) and fold in until done. You could add chopped tomatoes also.

                            Garnish with chopped cilantro and ground black pepper. Serve with fresh warm pita bread to scoop the eggs with, feta or cream cheese, orange marmalade, walnuts, fresh mint, and hot tea. Tear off a piece of pita bread and put a little bit of everything in it, its so good. One of my favorite breakfasts.
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                            For a dinner or even brunch side dish you can make a white cheese scalloped potato dish and mix the grated turmeric in there also. Mix some fresh chives or tarragon in?

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                            You can also make some pan fried potato rounds with onions: Parboil you potatoes in salted boiling water until cooked but still Firm. Saute some onions in OO and and the potatoes. Cooked until they have a nice golden crust, adding more oil if needed. Add the grated turmeric at the last 2 mins of cooking making sure to coat the potatoes and not to burn it.

                            These are also very good for a dinner or breakfast side.

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                            You can also throw it in your marinates.Try this one for grilled chicken: Get legs and thighs, Organic is best.

                            Marinate chicken in a mixture of 3/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 TB salt, 1 Tsp pepper, 2 thumb size pieces of turmeric root grated., and 1/4 tsp of saffron steeped in hot water for 20-30mins(if you got it).

                            Marinate for 1 -4 hours. Grill Over charocoal with onions and whole tomatoes rubbed in olive oil S&P, for a side, and serve with steamed basmati rice. Garnish the rice with saffron steeped in hot melted butter for 20mins. Delicious!

                            Maybe even caramelize some onions and stir in the turmeric at the end and add the onions to the rice when you steam it. But make sure you caramelize them on low heat for 45-mins to get a rich flavor.
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                            You got to remember that fresh turmeric is way more mild than the powder, not musky at all. Actually its kinda sweet with a unique spice taste. I love the taste in my smoothies in the morning, matches well with ginger(they are related).

                            Hope this helps.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: burntcremebrulee

                              Wow. Great recipes. Thanks for sharing. Are you on pinterist?

                              1. I just tried fresh turmeric root in a smoothie with fresh lime juice, banana, fresh ginger, and apple- it was good.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: foodiestuff

                                  How much fresh turmeric root do you put in your smoothie!

                                2. In India they make a great simple, pickle-type thing which you have alongside main meals. The turmeric isn't actually cooked – it's preserved in lemon & salt. It's crunchy, tangy – and has a fresh-style zing missing from a lot of pickles. When ever I serve it here in New Zealand, I get rave reviews. Here's a recipe for it which I found online – which has a fab addition of a heated, spiced oil. Give it a go – it's delicious: http://www.mydiversekitchen.com/2012/...