Out of Turmeric? We got you!
Turmeric is a pungent spice with a hint of warmth and bitterness that has been around American kitchens. When you are craving some Indian, Thai, or even Asian food, turmeric is your way to go. Coming from the ginger family, its unique flavor and distinctive aroma will leave your taste palates yearning for more. Not only does it add flavor to your dishes, but it also gives that vibrant orange color that you need to keep those dishes’ eyes turning. Let’s not just feast on your mouths, but your eyes as well. Here are the Best Turmeric Substitutes.
The broad range of its uses won’t leave your recipe lists empty as you can practically use it with almost any ingredient available in your kitchen. You can use it with rice, as flavorings to your mustard, butter, or even cheese. Let’s not forget where turmeric stars the most, the famous curry. It doesn’t end with that, as this earthy spice also works best with your soups, meat marinades, or even add a pinch to your baked goods to amp up a little bit of kick.
In addition to the endless list of uses, Turmeric also boasts of its wide array of health benefits. Our research revealed that India had been using turmeric for thousands of years already for its food and medicine. Best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, let’s unravel the health benefits of this impressive spice.
Turmeric consists of a potent compound, Curcumin that aids in the prevention and even curing of:
- Diabetes Type 2
- Hay fever
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- Bowel Syndrome
Are you planning to cook curry, and then suddenly you notice that bottle of turmeric empty? No worries! As here are the lists of turmeric alternatives that would surely give you, if not the exact, but the most similar pungent flavor turmeric has to offer.
Turmeric: Its Most Efficient Substitutes
- Saffron: This is your best bet for a great turmeric substitute. With its similarity to taste and color, one wouldn’t notice the difference between the two. Its vibrant yellowish color would lend you almost the same color turmeric can produce. Just a tip, try to use saffron in just small amounts as this one has a sweet base. It works best with rice and soups. Saffron also has a bit of history attached to it, as it goes way back and eons ago. The ever famous Cleopatra uses saffron-infused milk as her bath, so no wonder this might cost you a few bucks more. Certainly worth it!
- Curry Powder: This could guarantee you a tinge of turmeric in your dishes even if you haven’t put any as Curry powder has turmeric in it. It doesn’t guarantee to have the topmost similarity when it comes to flavor as it is a fusion of several other spices such as mustard, cumin, cardamom fennel, and of course, turmeric. If you’re looking for color, then curry powder could certainly do the job and produce a redder tone compared to turmeric, as its main component is chili. It’ll be a little hotter too. Don’t get confused if you will be revealed that curry doesn’t originate from the Indians. Yes! Surprisingly so. Would you believe it was actually the British who concocted this spice because they wanted to produce the flavors of Indian food? Yes! Surprisingly so.
- Annatto Seeds: If it’s just the color you’re after, using annatto seeds is your best choice to replace turmeric. They come from Achiote trees that can usually be found in Latin American and other Asian countries. The seeds have a vivid yellowish-orange color best used as marinade, rubs and can also work well with your casseroles and rice. It has an earthy, peppery tone that’s contrasting to that of the turmeric, making it applicable to be used as a substitute for color. To extract the color and flavor from the seeds, add the seeds directly into the oil. The pigment will then be infused in the oil and be ready for use. In other parts of the world, annatto seeds aren’t just used for cooking. They are also used in the textiles and clothing industries. Imagine how intense that color may be that it can even stick to clothes.
- Mustard: Same with Annatto seeds, Mustard is also derived from seeds and made into a paste. Coming from the Brassicaceae plant family, its seeds have three color classifications with different flavors depending on the color. . It comes in black, yellow, and brown. There are just a few dishes that are a good match for this spice with its intense flavor. The flavor ranges from sweet, spicy to aromatic. Normally, mustard is known for its use as dips and as a salad dressing. The history of mustard’s usage goes way back to 3000 BC in China, India, and Egypt. Back then, the Romans discovered that adding mustard to wine, which is what we know now as Dijon mustard.
- Paprika: This spice is one of the mainstays in our kitchen as it can really liven up a wide array of dishes. Its earthy aroma and vibrant color can certainly be a substitute if you’re missing turmeric. The smoked paprika, when combined with mace, would produce an efficient substitute for turmeric. The color of the paprika complements the spiciness of mace. Just make sure to combine the right amount to achieve the pungent flavor of turmeric. Since the 1600s, this spice has traveled a long way than anyone can imagine. Being traded by spice merchants, It originated from Mexico and was then brought to Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Hungary.
- Ginger: Ginger and turmeric come from the same plant family, Zingiberaceae. Technically cousins, the intense flavor of ginger is a great option to substitute for Turmeric. You might want to use it moderately as it’s sharp, spicy flavor can overwhelm the other ingredients in your recipes. It has been used in India and China as a medicinal herb since 475 BC. Since they are of the same family, ginger is also packed with immunity boosters and is beneficial to other health conditions.
- Cumin: The earthy aroma of cumin makes it one of the best turmeric replacements. When combined with galangal, you’re sure on your way to curry land. Similar to Annatto, cumin seeds are also of popular use. The method of infusing seeds with oil is how cumin seeds are incorporated into dishes, particularly Indian cuisines. Another form of cumin, which is the more popular one, is the ground form. Cumin’s origin can be traced back as far as the ancient civilization of Egypt and Syria. Researches also show that it is also one of the ingredients used in embalming Egyptian mummies.
- Garam Masala : A strong spice with a mixture of aromas from earthy to tangy with a hint of sweetness and a kick of spiciness would pass as an alternative to your turmeric powder. Garam means “hot” while masala means “mixture of spices” as it is a combination of four other spices, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and peppercorn. This spice is also widely used in authentic Indian cuisines. It works best with lentil dishes, soups, and curries. You might want to use it sparingly as it has a spicier note compared to turmeric.
Tip: If your nearest grocery store doesn’t have these spices, you can always combine the spices mentioned above and ground them. Have it roasted first before grounding for a more exquisite flavor, then voila! You have made your own spice at the comforts of your own pantry.
Turmeric is an incredible spice, what with all those health benefits and uses, it surely is a star in every home’s kitchen. Its distinct taste and aroma would always be just its own, hands down that nothing can really ever replace that. However, circumstances may arise that when Turmeric wasn’t on hand, it’s good to have alternatives that could always help you turn those bland-tasting recipes into a flavorful one.