This is a root that belongs to the ginger family and in some oriental shops can be bought fresh, but the powdered version has been dried and pounded.
It has a very fragrant aroma and a brilliant yellow-ochre colour, which is what makes Indian pilau rice that lovely pale yellow. It is also a major ingredient in our own beloved piccalilli. I always use a little in every curry mixture, as much for its fragrance as for its colour.
Because it comes ready-ground, it doesn't have a long shelf life, so keep an eye on the date stamp.
Dhal is simply the Indian word for lentils. The best kind to use for this are the red split lentils which most supermarkets stock.
Serve this lovely chunky mango chutney - which is simplicity itself to make - with cold meats, leftover turkey or anything spicy.
This has decidedly Mexican overtones. It isn't too hot and spicy but the presence of the chilli does give it a nice kick, and the flavour and texture of chickpeas is perfect for soup.
Making pickles is always satisfying as they are usually far better than anything you can buy, and their jewel colours cheer up the darker days of autumn. This is one of the best...
Another recipe that's cheap but full of flavour and good nutrition: chicken cooked with a mixture of lentils, tomatoes and spices for a warming and healthy supper dish.
Lentils and other pulses are invaluable if you need to eat cheaply - not only do they fill you up but they are also an important source of pure protein and less expensive than chicken or meat. This spicy veggie curry is a good example…
Here you make a spicy apricot puree then marinate the pork for several hours before barbecuing - an unusual way to jazz up some pork kebabs. Serve with spiced basmati rice.
Dry-roasting spices and grating fresh coconut means that this recipe is packed with freshness and flavour, making it ideal to serve to friends, especially as it can be made in advance then reheated.
Using ready-cooked chicken speeds up this already easy dish, making it a real winner for weekday supper. Coconut milk can be heavy in calories, so dieters may like to know that you can now buy half-fat coconut milk instead.
The combination of parsnips, apple and spices is original and truly delectable: an unusual soup that's certain to become a regular in your repertoire.