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Feb 2, 2012 09:32 AM

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 ( ), 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 ( ) 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?


            6 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"

                    1. re: kitchenprof

                      ... when you"read" the post, you had to have seen the reference to "colour", right? That's sufficient. Danna is a user -- period, full stop.