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 looks 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 turmeric powder (think of the difference between chopped fresh garlic and garlic powder). Exposing the turmeric to heat slightly enhanced its flavor.
I then added 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.