Most of those unfamiliar with the common varieties of ginger would in all likelihood also not know about its close relative turmeric, also called Indian or mango ginger. However, without realizing it, they may actually be consuming it when they order any of the many varieties of Indian and Thai dishes served in specialty restaurants–from chicken to fish, meat to vegetarian curries. American mustard’s bright coloring is due to the addition of turmeric.
Curry powder and paste contains turmeric (also called yellow ginger or curcumin) along with other spices. It is responsible for the delicious deep golden color it imparts to the spice and the dishes made from it. Turmeric is used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Apart from the beautiful color, yellow ginger also imparts a delectable and distinct peppery flavor to any dish. Raw and unpeeled, it looks like a smaller version of common ginger with not as many knobs and branches. But when you peel it (it skins much more easily because of its more regular shape), the deep yellow flesh is revealed together with its rich spicy aroma.
Primarily cultivated in China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Java. Peru, Australia and the West Indies, turmeric has culinary uses pretty much the same as regular ginger though you’ll find some specialty recipes in Asian cuisine that calls for yellow ginger. It can be used peeled or unpeeled (brush off any remaining grit), sliced, grated or ground to release its fabulous flavors. In its unavailability, you can use the common variety–but don’t expect the same flavor and color you would achieve if you use turmeric.
Similar to common ginger, it is also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties and is taken as a natural remedy for inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and even cancer cell growth and metastases.