A Zingy(!), Zippy(!) Salsa Worthy of All the Exclamation Points

In elementary school, I was obsessed with onomatopoeia—finding every excuse to use words I could attach an exclamation point onto. It was enthusiastic and, I'm sure, slightly annoying all at once.

I thought my onomatopoeia obsession was long gone, until I made Fresh Turmeric Salsa. Which, if it came with a soundtrack, would be zing(!), zap(!), zip(!) and POW(!).

Fresh turmeric has a peppery warmth that's sort of bracing, and while you could tame its flavor in something like a broth, you could also whole-heartedly embrace it: When you combine turmeric with ginger, chile, and lime juice, it says, "Hello, I'm here. Ready to wake up whatever I'm put on."

Hello, I'm here. Ready to wake up whatever I'm put on.
Fresh turmeric salsa

Make this for dinner tonight, spooned onto toast smeared with goat cheese. And, if you like, make it on Sunday, too—with one hand in a bowl of popcorn and the other cradling this golden salsa, waiting to see who will win that golden statue.

Here's what you'll need (organized by area of the grocery store):

  • 5 fresh turmeric fingers (about 3 ounces—and yes, you do need to find fresh turmeric, not dried, for this)
  • 2 teaspoons minced or grated ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 chili, such as a serrano or jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes, depending on how juicy they are
  • Your favorite bread for toasting
  • Goat cheese

You'll also need 1/2 teaspoon salt, good olive oil (as needed), and sugar (as needed). If you don't have these, add them to your list, too!

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About 40 minutes before you'd like to eat, peel the turmeric. Using a sharp knife, slice it in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin half moons. Mix the turmeric with the ginger, chile, salt, and lime juice. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes, then taste and adjust. If you think it's too intense or bitter, add a teaspoon of olive oil or sugar or both.

Are you ready to eat? Good! Toast a slice or two of bread. Spread some goat cheese on it. Top with turmeric salsa. Say zing!

See the full recipe here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
  • Lost_in_NYC
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


Annada R. February 21, 2017
OMG Riddley, this is such a blast from past or home! This recipe is what is made as a pickle in the West Indian state of Gujarat. It is served as a condiment/pickle as a part of the meal, except that, instead of grating ginger, it is cut into thin slices. The Gujarati women are exceptional in their cutting & dicing skills and both turmeric and ginger slices are cut into identical pieces. When I make it, I store it in a clean glass jar & store in the fridge. Easily lasts for a month or so.
Riddley G. February 22, 2017
I also had it when I was in Gujarat! I'm so happy to hear it was a blast from the bast/home for you as well :) Those are always the best kind of recipes!
Lost_in_NYC February 21, 2017
One *important* thing to note when using fresh turmeric is to be careful with the juices as it will stain any surface it comes in contact with. Use a cutting board/utensils you don't mind that gets a little yellow/orange coloured.