The first time I ever remember eating turmeric was in an "egg" salad—i.e. mashed tofu, one of my mother's Moosewood-inspired favorites from the 70s. Of course, before my mother was tinting tofu with it, turmeric was beloved for its peppery sweetness and incredible color, its place in Indian (and Persian, among other) cuisines, and its health-buzz roots deeply planted in Ayurvedic medicine.
In 2016, the first things that come up when you Google "turmeric" are not recipes, but health benefits. It's anti-inflammatory! Depression-relieving! May fight drug-resistant tuberculosis! This is all the stuff that makes something buzzy, a "superfood" or a "hot ingredient."
But the rhizome's real draws, in its fresh and its powdered forms, are its peppery flavor, which runs its fingers along the back of your throat, and its gold flesh, so intensely colored it's like someone bumped the saturation on it waaaay up. It brings that color to everything it touches, including your hands and dinnerware.
Turmeric has swung from from the more traditional dals and grain dishes and soups to vegetariana and the world of juicing and beyond. In levels not quite at "avocado toast" or "smoothie bowl," it's showing up all over the internet and on restaurant menus—in juices, yes, but also in sweet and savory oatmeals, turmeric tea (turmeric root steeped with lemon and honey in hot water, sometimes with ginger root and/or black pepper, too), in pre-blended and bottled (or homemade) turmeric honey, in "golden milk," a warmed blend of milk (or alt-milk), turmeric, cinnamon, and honey.
And in vinegary "ciders," salad dressings, pickles, smoothies, tossed with roasted vegetables, added to curry pastes, and sprinkled onto popcorn. And even in doughnuts! Turmeric is popping up all over our (Not)Recipe app.
Psst: If you haven't downloaded the app yet, right this way.
How are you using (and seeing, and eating) turmeric? Do you prefer fresh or ground? Tell us in the comments.
Download our brand-new (Not)Recipes app for iOS and get even more recipe-less cooking inspiration—turmeric-hued and otherwise.