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Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
"Turmeric grows wild in the forests of Southeast Asia. It has become the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes, not only in curry, but also in many more.In Indonesia, the turmeric leaves are used for Minangese or Padangese curry base of Sumatra, such as rendang, sate padang and many other varieties.
Although usually used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, much like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as fresh turmeric pickle, which contains large chunks of soft turmeric.
Turmeric is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient for almost all Iranian fry ups (which typically consist of oil, onions and turmeric followed by any other ingredients that are to be included). In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and is extensively used in almost every vegetable and meat dish in the country for its color, as well as for its medicinal value. In South Africa, turmeric is traditionally used to give boiled white rice a golden color."
a recipe for a quick relish with freshly shredded turmeric
I have read that typical consumption of turmeric in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and their neighbors is 1/4 to 1/2 tsp -- enough to show significant positive health differences for heart and other systems.