I wanted to cook a dish using the fresh Turmeric rhizomes I recently purchased in Ottawa in order to see how the fresh spice compares to the dried, powdered variety. I decided on a grilled pork kebab preparation and chose very little in the way of seasoning other than the Turmeric paste I made for my last post …
- 1 ½ lbs. lean pork cut into medium cubes;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Fresh Turmeric paste;
- 4 tbsp. Yoghurt;
- ½ tsp. Paprika;
- 1 tsp. Dried parsley flakes
- Pinch salt.
I chose the paprika and parsley, as these would both add a nice touch of color without impacting the finished taste too much. Normally, I would add at least pepper, and likely some other spices, but I wanted the Turmeric flavor to come through as cleanly as possible.
Put the meat in a bowl and rub the salt into the pieces. Add one half of the Turmeric paste and rub this in as well. You may wish to use gloves to do this, or else use a stainless steel spoon or something, as the Turmeric really stains whatever it touches. Let the mix sit for a good 30 minutes or so.
Now, add the yoghurt, the paprika and parsley, and the remaining turmeric and mix well. Allow it all to marinate for at least two hours or overnight.
Thread the meat cubes onto skewers, leaving a little space between each, and reserves any remaining marinade for basting as the skewers are cooked.
You can grill the skewers on the barbecue, shallow fry in a pan, or do as I did and use a ridged grill pan. Cook at medium heat, turning when needed and basting with the remaining marinade, until the pork is cooked all the way through and nicely browned. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or so and then plate and serve.
I served the kebabs with rice with peas and cashews flavored with a little cumin seed and lemon juice. The result of the experiment was actually surprisingly good and my wife and I both enjoyed it without the need to add any additional seasoning at the table. As this was primarily a test of the fresh turmeric flavor, I expected the overall effect to be a little flat but, while the dish could (and really should) be a bit more complex, it was still very flavorful. The turmeric still retained some of the pleasant highlights of the raw rhizome and it worked nicely with the yoghurt to lend a lovely tang to the pork. Possibly, for a future experiment, I will try the fresh variety of the spice for an interesting re-make of my Chicken Haldi….