A Dusting Of Turmeric Gives Sauteed Ingredients A Gentle Boost Of Umami

There is no quicker, more effective way to take ingredients from mediocre to mouthwatering than by simply sauteing them. Not only is the technique convenient and straightforward for even newer cooks to master, but it does a great job of unlocking the most appetizing flavors, textures, and aromas of the ingredients through heat and browning. Sauteeing also gives you a fantastic opportunity to toast the spices and seasonings added to your food, creating a one-two punch of flavor that elevates your meals to the next level. Wondering which spices to try? We recommend adding turmeric in your next sauteed dish to give it a complex, savory boost.

Turmeric is a root-like ingredient similar to ginger. It is native to Southeast Asia, where it is heavily used in the cuisine both for its flavor and for its medicinal properties. It can be used either fresh or ground like other spices, and is known for its bright yellow hue as well as its intensely earthy, slightly spicy flavor. Turmeric can be used in both sweet and savory applications when cooking, but it really does shine when added to more umami-forward dishes thanks to its uniquely bitter, almost smoky taste that highlights similar flavors found in the seasoned ingredients. Try it out on everything from basic veggies to seared chicken breast.

How to saute with turmeric

Thanks to turmeric's rising popularity around the world, it is becoming easier and easier to find some without going to great lengths. The ground variety is available at most grocery stores, and the fresh version can be tracked down at some specialty or health food shops. Use caution when shopping, as low-quality turmeric can be contaminated with dyes and heavy metals. Before you start using the spice with abandon, use this water test to ensure your turmeric is pure.

When using turmeric while sauteing, there is no strict rule on how much or little to add, and you may simply add it to taste. If you're looking for a starting point, try adding a teaspoon and working your way up from there. Turmeric works well with many other spices you already have in your spice cabinet, most notably seasonings like black pepper, cumin, and others found in South and Southeast Asian cuisine. For even more ideas, check out our recipes from that area of the world, like this Instant Pot chana masala or this healthy moong dal.