Turmeric and a Recipe for Turmeric Pickle

I love looking at the bright yellow turmeric next to the deep red of chili powder and the neutrals of cumin and mustard seeds in my masala dubba. Turmeric is indispensable in any Indian kitchen.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info

So many of my favorite Indian comfort foods, like a big bowl of yellow Kadhi or my Grandma’s Gujarati Dal, just wouldn’t be right without turmeric.

I am lucky enough to always have great quality turmeric in my masala dabba. That’s because whenever my mom goes to India she brings back large bags of freshly powdered turmeric.

Turmeric is so important to my mom that she stocks up every year when she goes to India. She actually goes to her spice seller in India, picks out the dried turmeric roots that she wants, and insists on watching him grind the turmeric in front of her.

This is to make sure that she gets only pure, wonderful turmeric that isn’t adulterated in any way.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info

The turmeric powder we have even looks slightly different from the stuff you find in the grocery store. Instead of being a perfect, bright yellow, it has a slightly deeper color that makes it look a bit more orange.

Turmeric comes from a root that looks a lot like ginger since they are from the same family. Although it is often easiest to buy it in powdered form, you can find the fresh root at Indian stores and even Whole Foods since many health food aficionados are very interested in turmeric for its medicinal properties.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info

Turmeric is highly regarded in Indian culture. According to Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is a super healthy, curative herb. It has been used for thousands of years to treat stomach ailments, ulcers, liver problems, fever and as an antiseptic for wounds and sore throats. It is widely regarded as anti-inflammatory.

My mom takes it to help with her arthritis. It is also thought to be antiseptic and antiviral. Western medicine has done little to study turmeric to verify these beliefs, but there are many ongoing cancer studies involving turmeric that show great promise.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
Rye kuriya – split mustard seeds

In addition to being an antiseptic for wounds, as a paste it is also used to stop bleeding. Once one of our dogs in India got in a fight with another dog and came home wounded and bleeding.

This was at our factory in rural Maharashtra and there were no veterinarians around. We didn’t think it would be a good idea to use an antiseptic spray on him because he would lick it off and it might be poisonous.

So we made a paste by mixing turmeric powder and a little water and applied it to his wounds. As you would expect, he kept licking it off, so we kept reapplying it. In the end, the turmeric paste stopped the bleeding and he made a full recovery.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info

My husband, Steve, has been on a smoothie kick lately. He throws various fruits and vegetables into the blender, along with some combination of seeds, olive oil, hemp hearts, herbs and spices to create these weird, super-healthy smoothies.

He likes to add herbs and spices such as turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and nutmeg for the likelihood that they have medicinal advantages and boost metabolism. Since I last made this big batch of turmeric pickle, he’s been using it in many of them.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info

The pickle I made is a traditional Gujarati pickle. It is ayurvedic not only because of it’s health benefits but also in the sense that it has a balance of all flavors (salty, sweet, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent), which is considered very important in ayurveda.

As a pickle it goes great with just about anything. If you are eating a shaak or dal with some flatbread, you can add a little turmeric pickle for a pleasant crunch.

Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
Turmeric Pickle Recipe by Indiaphile.info
A bowl of turmeric pickle

Turmeric Pickle

A simple pickle made with fresh turmeric
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 20
Calories 32 kcal


  • 1 cup turmeric shredded or cut into matchsticks
  • 1-2 serrano chilies depending on desired heat
  • 3 tbsp split mustard seeds rye kuriya
  • cup fresh lemon juice 1 to 2 large lemons
  • ¼ cup oil olive or vegetable
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger


  • Prepare all the ingredients by shredding or slicing turmeric (I used a food processor with a grater attachment), chop or slice up the chilies, grate the ginger.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Let the flavors meld for at least one hour, but it is best after a day or two.


This pickle will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.


Serving: 28gCalories: 32kcalFat: 3gSodium: 232mgPotassium: 14mgVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1.8mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword spices, turmeric pickle
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. I’ve never really used turmeric much before but I would like to try it with this pickle. the color is gorgeous and i’m sure it tastes amazing. Thinking I might use it as a garnish on sandwiches & wraps? How else do you use it other than your husbands smoothies?

  2. Lucky you that your mom drops off a big bag of turmeric like that :)! Any idea where we could get something similar here in SD? This looks super tasty!

  3. Puja,

    I was looking for something just like this! My neighbor dropped off a pound of fresh turmeric at my door this weekend and I was wondering how I could use it all up. Thank you. There will be turmeric pickle tonight. 🙂


  4. I made a batch of this with a local, organic, young turmeric. There is practically no papery skin on the outside. They grow and sell the young ginger, too every year at local co-ops (and Whole Foods). I can’t wait to eat some tomorrow. I also couldn’t find that mustard, so I took the regular seed and slightly crushed it in a coffee grinder.

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