Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native in southeast India, and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes, imparting a mustard-like, earthy aroma and pungent, slightly bitter flavor to foods. Turmeric is used mostly in savory dishes, but also is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, Patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut–jaggery mixture on the leaf, then closing and steaming it in a special utensil (chondrõ). Most turmeric is used in the form of rhizome powder to impart a golden yellow color.