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Old 10-19-2009, 05:55 PM   #1
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ISO Turmeric Info

Other than coloring dishes (and btw, which dishes?) what does this do flavor-wise?

How is color/taste different from Saffron?

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Old 10-19-2009, 06:13 PM   #2
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Turmeric is used widely in Indian cooking. All curries use turmeric. Other middle-eastern and asian cooking may use it but it's more popular in Indian cuisine.

It is used both for color and flavor. Fresh turmeric looks similar to a ginger root (much thinner and smaller and bright orange) and has a bite to it similar to an extremely mild horseradish (that's the best analogy that I can come up with in terms of flavor). If you use powdered turmeric, it does not have much of a taste but has a bright yellow color and a strong pungent aroma.

Saffron is also a spice and when added to a dish can impart a yellow color but it has a more pungent floral aroma (it is a stymen from the crocus flower). Saffron is also used heavily in Indian cuisine in curries, marinades, rice preparations. Given it is floral it is also heavily used in Indian desserts (one example is kulfi a rich Indian icecream).

The two flavors are very different, one can never be used in a dessert or delicate preparation (turmeric) and the other can if you can afford it (saffron can be expensive).
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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Which of the two would be more favorable for a rice dish? I saw saffron strings for $19 at my local market. Sheesh!
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:34 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Yakuta;857450]
Saffron (it is a stymen from the crocus flower). [QUOTE]

One very important side point: "Saffron" isn't the stigma (it's stigma, rather than stymen) of just any crocus. It's the stigma from the very specific "Saffron Crocus", which is a very specific fall-blooming variety. Do not just pick the stigmas from any old crocus thinking you can use them as saffron. Stigmas from other varieties are toxic.

As far as uses, you can use either for a rice dish. Saffron will almost always be more favorable, but as you noted - the price is high. One good thing is that a little does go a long way. Look up a few saffron rice recipes to see how many stigmas they call for & you can calculate how much it will cost you.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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$19? Holy cow! I can get a nice small box of saffron for about $8
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
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I don't think turmeric powder would be a suitable choice as the dominant seasoning in any dish. It has an extremely bitter, chalky taste that needs to be tempered with other flavors.

So if you're just looking to color your rice yellow on the cheap, I'd go with Mexican saffron (Zapron in most mexican groceries) which is the whole flower for next to nothing (I can buy 3 oz bags at my local mexican grocer for a buck). You'll need to use a lot more of it, and grind it thoroughly, and it still won't be saffron, but it'll be a better choice than turmeric.

Annato would be another option, that may or may not be easier to find in your neck.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Saphellae View Post
$19? Holy cow! I can get a nice small box of saffron for about $8

Just like any other commestible, there are "grades" of Saffron. Whole stigmas, broken stigmas, powdered stigmas, etc. And then there's also a price difference re: where the Saffron was harvested. Regardless - you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:26 PM   #8
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I have been using turmeric in my cooking a lot lately. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Turmeric is said to have inflammation reducing properties so I've been incorporating into a lot of my recipes. Some of my best results have been in curry type dishes and combining it with ginger. I also use it in spice rubs and marinades. Here is a couple of links to my recipes featuring turmeric.

Chicken Curry with Ginger and Turmeric The Arthritis Kitchen Blog

Turmeric and Ginger Beef Fajitas The Arthritis Kitchen Blog
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by KitchenSally View Post
I have been using turmeric in my cooking a lot lately. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Turmeric is said to have inflammation reducing properties so I've been incorporating into a lot of my recipes. Some of my best results have been in curry type dishes and combining it with ginger. I also use it in spice rubs and marinades. Here is a couple of links to my recipes featuring turmeric.

Chicken Curry with Ginger and Turmeric The Arthritis Kitchen Blog

Turmeric and Ginger Beef Fajitas The Arthritis Kitchen Blog
Ginger is a great combination with turmeric. One enhances the other nicely.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KitchenSally View Post
I have been using turmeric in my cooking a lot lately. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Turmeric is said to have inflammation reducing properties so I've been incorporating into a lot of my recipes. Some of my best results have been in curry type dishes and combining it with ginger. I also use it in spice rubs and marinades. Here is a couple of links to my recipes featuring turmeric.

Chicken Curry with Ginger and Turmeric The Arthritis Kitchen Blog

Turmeric and Ginger Beef Fajitas The Arthritis Kitchen Blog
I read something lately that said that everyone should use mustard every day (it said just a couple teaspoons were enough), and I think turmeric was the main reason.

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