Native to the Orient, the turmeric plant is a rhizome related to ginger. Turmeric looks like ginger except it is bright orange inside. It is most commonly used in the dried, powdered form where it imparts a sharp, slightly bitter flavor and a bright orange color. It is used in India cooking to add color to stews and various dishes more than for flavor. It is the substance used to make prepared mustard "yellow". The root is widely cultivated in India and the Caribbean.
Ground turmeric powder is more easily found in many grocery stores and certainly in Asia markets. Turmeric powder is a key ingredient found in many curry recipes including our favorite Curry Chicken recipe.