I’ve made recipes that included turmeric, and I’ve read articles about its health benefits, but I’ve made the same recipes without turmeric without any noticeable taste difference - the lovely color was missing, but that’s about it. Is this because I’m using powdered turmeric from the grocery spice rack? Or does turmeric lack a definitive taste?
1If you're not getting any taste, it's probably because the turmeric you have is of very poor quality. Old, over-dried turmeric can indeed be tasteless.– FuzzyChefMar 22, 2018 at 23:17
1If you have access to Penzey's Spices, either in store or by catalog, their turmeric has a robust, well-rounded flavor that will make you understand what it's supposed to taste like. Just beware, it stains like anything.– FuzzyChefMar 22, 2018 at 23:19
Turmeric does have it's own taste. It can be tasted by adding a pinch or two to lukewarm milk.
Turmeric leaves also have a specific taste, that's why rice cakes are prepared in turmeric leaves, which are peeled off before eating.
Turmeric does have its own flavour, even dried. However it's commonly used with other, stronger, spices. This means that it adds a bit of depth to the flavour but in a subtle way.
The flavour of turmeric also cooks out to some extent (as does ginger, to which it's related) so adding it towards the end of cooking retains more flavour. For a highly-coloured dish I make (a mild curry using Quorn or chicken with a yoghurt- and almond-based sauce) I add some early, and some more after the yoghurt. Without the latter, the flavour isn't as good; without the former the colour isn't as good.
If you want to get an idea of the taste of turmeric on its own, try steeping some in a little vodka, straining, and sipping. I did this recently for other reasons and the taste is quite pleasant, if unexpected in a drink.
1@Armfoot health advice is off topic here, I had to remove your comment.– rumtscho ♦Mar 22, 2018 at 20:43
1@rumtscho oh ok then, I'll just say that black pepper is one of the spices I'd recommend mixing with, as Chris mentioned. The traditional and famous Indian curry has turmeric and black pepper as 2 of its main ingredients. Just a small amount though is enough (at least for me).– ArmfootMar 28, 2018 at 20:10
Go to an Asian or Indian market and get fresh turmeric root if you want to know the true nature of it. You will find that it’s mildly spicy quite similar to cinnamon and ginger but much milder, don’t get it on any clothing unless you want it to remain that color. It’s remarkable in curried eggs, and boiled eggs at Easter are beautiful and natural with a lovely taste.
2Yes! While cutting fresh turmeric you may not want to use your hands to avoid staining with that strong orange color (I know it's hard, but try using a fork and knife). Part of my thumb is yellow since yesterday (no soap can take it out! x).– ArmfootMar 28, 2018 at 20:14