• Turmeric sausage rolls (Sarina Kamini)Source: Sarina Kamini

A little turmeric goes a long way. Especially when it is teamed with pepper, garlic, onion and salt. 






Skill level

Average: 2.6 (24 votes)

Turmeric is structural. Bitterness is primary, and turmeric is the most recognisable from this spice category. The job of turmeric is to ensure other accompanying aromatics shine. 

You can see why it is popular within traditional Indian food: with all of the spice weight, turmeric performs some serious heavy lifting to provide a flavour framework.

Turmeric will push the acidity in the tomato forward. Turn on the coarse heat of black pepper. Highlight the sharp quality of white salt. Dial-up the astringent contribution of garlic and onion. Increase the fresh and green tonality of your leafy herbs. 

Take it out of the curry context and it does just as well. 

Imagine spaghetti bolognese. Tomatoes, garlic and onion. Basil fresh, and maybe dried. Perhaps oregano or parsley. Salt and pepper. A dish that, when slow-cooked, results in a rich collapse of flavours. But add ⅓ of a teaspoon of ground turmeric to your garlic and onion base and the structure turmeric brings to the other aromatics in the pan draws an even rich flavour.

Turmeric top tips

• Turmeric in a recipe requires a sweet addition - a little jaggery, a sweet fat like ghee, or a sweet spice like cassia - to offset her bitter profile.

• Turmeric and ginger aren’t only cousins, they’re a classic pairing. The salt and pepper of Indian spice. Ginger warms turmeric, and turmeric strengthens ginger’s sharp heat.

• Ground and fresh turmeric aren’t interchangeable. Ground turmeric offers more base structural integrity. Fresh turmeric is a mid-palate player.


  • 500 g beef and pork mince
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅓ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Puff pastry, 2-4 sheets

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Line an oven tray with a sheet of baking paper.

3. Combine mince, spice, garlic, onion, parsley and one of the two eggs in a bowl.

4. Roll the mincemeat mixture in a line on a sheet of puff pastry and roll into a sausage roll shape. Cut or tuck the edge and place it on the baking tray. Repeat until mince is used. You should be able to make three long sausage roll shapes.

5. Mix together one egg and some milk in a bowl and brush on top of the sausage rolls. Spike with a fork.

6. Place the tray in the heated oven and cook for around 25 minutes or until golden brown and pastry is puffed. Remove from the oven, cut and eat.



• Use a good quality puff pastry to ensure the best result.


'Not just curry' is a fortnightly recipe column on SBS Food lead by self-professed Spice Mistress herself. It shares the flavourful insights and potential behind a different spice that may be tucked away in your pantries and is celebrated with a brand-new recipe. Find out more here.

Photography, styling and food preparation by Sarina Kamini.