Turmeric Gives White Rice A Flavor Boost Without Salt Or Oil

Rice is the globe's most consumed food, and it's easy to see why. Whether dressed up in an elaborate pilaf, crafted into a comforting congee porridge, or steamed into a tasty side, rice always delivers. And it's straightforward to prepare, whether on a stovetop or with a rice cooker, to get the consistency just right.

If you're keen to spice up classic white rice, consider adding turmeric during cooking. No additional oil or salt is necessary, just a generous teaspoon of ground turmeric tipped straight into the cooking water. The result will have an attractive yellow hue, plus, it'll taste delicious, with a hint of turmeric's characteristic earthy, slightly peppery flavor. It's also a vessel for turmeric's multiple health benefits: Its active ingredient, curcumin, an antioxidant, has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Add a few slices of washed ginger root to the pot, and you'll further increase the anti-inflammatory ingredients, as well as bringing a zip of zingy flavor.

The easygoing pairing melds with a range of weeknight meals, such as pan-fried fish, vegetable curry, or as the basis of a rice bowl. And it's the perfect launching point for further flavors, too. Here are a few more ways from worldwide cuisines to enjoy the bright yellow side.

Turmeric's earthy flavor perfectly meshes with rice

Turmeric rice — sometimes called yellow rice — is no secret. Varying renditions exist in cuisines around the world, paired up with many more complex flavorings. In South India, it's made with a range of whole spices, such as cumin, cardamom, clove, bay leaf, mace, and more. The preparation involves sautéing the aromatics in butter, which helps bloom the flavor.

In Indonesia, where the dish is called nasi kuning, the rice is combined with coconut milk, lemongrass, pandan, ginger, and kaffir lime leaves for a tropical take. Consider grating in fresh turmeric instead of the powdered variety for a zestier take.

A Colombian yellow rice recipe prepares turmeric rice with chicken broth, which adds savory flavor. And in Brazil, the turmeric is integrated into a chicken marinade, which is, in turn, cooked into the rice to yield a delicious dish known as galinhada. This broad variety of global applications showcases the malleability of the rice and turmeric combination. It's up to you: Keep it simple by adding only turmeric, or expand into an explosion of flavors; either way, it'll be delicious.