Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Experimenting with Raw Turmeric

I just came across raw turmeric (photo, right), which I had never seen before. Sure, I have dried ground turmeric (photo, below left) that I use for Indian dishes, but I was unfamiliar with the raw version.

Turmeric is a rhizome (main underground stem of a plant) and is related to ginger, which it loo
ks like. However, under its skin, raw turmeric is bright orange, different from ginger’s pale yellow.

I took an educated guess and figured I could sauté minced turmeric in the same fashion that I sauté ginger or garlic (as a flavorful aromatic). The raw turmeric smelled and tasted stronger than ground t
urmeric powder (think of the difference between chopped fresh garlic and garlic powder). Exposing the turmeric to heat slightly enhanced its flavor.

I then add
ed sliced zucchini to the pan and cooked them until they started to become soft. Unfortunately, the flavor of the zucchini overwhelmed the flavor of the turmeric, which dulled slightly with additional cooking.

In retrospect, I think I should I have grated the raw turmeric and added that to the zucchini towards the end of the cooking process. More of the turmeric’s oils would have been released by grating (rather than mincing), which possibly would have lent more flavor and color to the final dish.

When I get more of the raw turmeric I’ll make the dish again and let you know the results.


Heather said...

Very interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing how the grating works. We use a lot of turmeric (powder) for it's anti-inflammatory properties.

Anonymous said...

very cool... grated turmeric is often pickled and used on the side of the main dish.
adding to what heather said, i remember my mother would put turmeric powder on my cuts and scrapes as a kid, because it is both anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic.

Chef Rob said...

Anonymous - Makes sense regarding using turmeric powder on cuts and scrapes. Same principle as honey.