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.