Remember when your grandmother poured in the hot, haldi milk in a mug to soothe your feverish disposition or to help in healing when you scraped your knee rather badly while playing? Turmeric, the sunny spice, has leapt from de rigueur homemade preparations to ritzy specials, pirouetting across new menus that go well beyond the ubiquitous chicken tikka… It is fascinating to watch Malay chef Hamedy at Sofitel BKC in Mumbai smatter the haldi-tinged maida mix with salt and chilli onto the sizzling hot tawa through a flexible plastic container with multiple holes. This jala roti, that resembles a spidery web, makes for a finger-licking combination with the fiery chicken curry. A traditional Malaysian speciality that woos the golden spice in yet another unique way.

Desi discovery

Dubbed as the poor man’s saffron, turmeric was discovered over 5,000 years ago in India. It was used initially as a dye and has coloured curries and more across kitchens since. Mildly aromatic, haldi has been added to mustard pastes and relishes for years, clearly expanding its footprint way beyond the traditional ubtan and glorious face packs that zap away zits.

Shilpi Madan for Deccan Herald

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