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.
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.