How do I use fresh turmeric?
March 9, 2013 4:13 PM   Subscribe

My local whole-foods/hippie/co-op grocer had fresh turmeric in their produce section when I went shopping today, so I picked some up. Now I have to figure out what to do with it.

I have two main questions:
  1. I was already planning to make a curry this week; the recipe involves sauteing onions, garlic, and ginger, then adding dried spices (including dried turmeric), then adding coconut milk & water, then cooking vegetables in the resulting sauce. Can I substitute fresh turmeric for dried turmeric in this recipe? I assume I would add it to the pan at the same time as garlic & fresh ginger. If this substitution is valid, what ratio (fresh to dried) should I use? I assume I need more of the fresh stuff, but how much more?
  2. What other kinds of recipe could I try with this? It'd be neat to do a recipe where the fresh turmeric flavor (whatever that is) can really shine, but I have no idea what would be. The suggestions of the hive-mind would be most appreciated!
posted by Johnny Assay to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, you can substitute fresh turmeric, just like you can substitute fresh ginger. Just grate it fine. The ratio I'm finding online is 1/2tsp = a one inch section.

Personally? I'd try making a curry with fresh spices. It really can't be beat.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:17 PM on March 9, 2013

Wear gloves. It stains like crazy. It's very bitter.
posted by Jode at 4:50 PM on March 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's good juiced with carrot/ginger/lemon. Maybe some honey if it's too bitter.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:59 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wear gloves. It stains like crazy.

Yes. If you prefer your kitchen bench to stay unyellowed, put something down on it around your cutting board and next to the stove. If you're going to cook it in oil, even little droplets of oil from the pan will stain.

I find it has a strong earthy flavour (can't think of any other way to describe it) which dried turmeric doesn't have. It's great in any kind of curry or stir-fry, but I think it goes especially well with either lamb or tofu.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:42 PM on March 9, 2013

You can make a "tea" with it. Boil (or steep on hot water) finely grated fresh turmeric. Add honey if too bitter. Supposed to be a string anti-inflammatory (and a whole host of other good effects).
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:49 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Use it as a vegetable and cook haldi ki sabzi, a Rajasthani winter dish. The cook has a video tutorial in Hindi — if you turn on closed captioning in English, while the timing of the translation and video are sometimes offset and not even always present, the method shown may be helpful.

You can also grate it into fresh salads, or pickle it.
posted by mayurasana at 7:48 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've enjoyed a version of these turmeric honey chicken wings:

I used cut up pieces of chicken instead of wings and pan-fried them.
posted by wiskunde at 8:02 PM on March 9, 2013

Depending on the type of cuisine , I would use it to make a fresh curry paste. Thai curries sometimes use the stuff, and fresh is really nice in this application.

The paste freezes pretty well, but you do lose a bit of the flavor in the thaw.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:29 PM on March 9, 2013

Everything you ever wanted to know about turmeric
posted by infini at 8:53 PM on March 9, 2013

Pick-me-up drink: fresh oj, fresh lemon juice, coconut water; turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger.
posted by londongeezer at 10:00 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could put some in hot milk and fall asleep nicely.
posted by discopolo at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2013

Mr Wintersonata drinks it as a tea as described above. He'll also make a homemade tincture (grated turmeric, everclear, let it sit for a while) to use after running. It's supposed to reduce post-workout muscle strain.
posted by wintersonata9 at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2013

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