Turmeric Bechamel Sauce Recipe | PBS Food

Turmeric Bechamel Sauce

We joined Chef Michele Ragussis at the Crown and Anchor Restaurant in celebrating her Greek-Italian heritage by making Pastitsio together. We decided to unite the South African concept of “a bread container” using a bread bowl with a Pastitsio filling of beef flavored with the garlic and tomatoes of Mediterranean cuisine. In a further nod to our newly acquired love of South African food, we topped our Pastitsio Bunny Chow with a rich Turmeric Béchamel Sauce as seen on Food Flirts.



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon powdered turmeric
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk to combine. Using a heat-proof spatula, continue stirring while cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and turmeric and continue cooking another 3 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in the milk, whisking away any lumps as they form. Using a heat-proof spatula, stir constantly and continue to cook for about 10 minutes until thickened, and the Béchamel Sauce is smooth.
  3. Remove Béchamel Sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and salt to taste.
  4. If not using the Béchamel Sauce immediately, spoon it into a heat-proof bowl, place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the sauce and around the edges making an airtight seal, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will prevent a “skin” from forming on the top of the sauce. Because the Béchamel Sauce contains eggs, it should not be allowed to stand at room temperature before being used.
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