There is something about the earthy citrusy aroma of raw turmeric (haldi). When dried, the earthiness gives way to a woody overtone with a hint of sourness, yet fresh.
Just the way winter gives way to spring.
The bright colour and the aroma draws me towards it immensely. Making turmeric powder at home, for all the hard work it commands, in the end, it feels so simple. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, this grinding turmeric to a powder process.
Take about a kilogram of raw turmeric roots, scrub and wash them to remove as much mud off them.
Put them in a big pan or a rice cooker and fill the vessel with water, about two inches above the top layer.
Let this boil for about 45 minutes.
Remove and drain. Peel the skin off once they cool down.
Grate. I use the manual grater. This is the tiring part. But then I am not losing kilograms myself just like that.
Spread the shreds in the open under direct sunlight, covered so no dust goes in. Or alternatively, you can dehydrate thin layers it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees. Sun drying brings out the best colour and aroma.
Once the shreds dry out completely and become brittle, they are ready to be ground to a powder.
And you are done!
My maids think I am a psycho - what can really be wrong with turmeric powder bought from the store? Well, a whole lot of things - try googling "adulteration in turmeric powder".
Home-ground turmeric powder is not as bright as commercially available options and neither does it lend any such brightness to any dish.
The process stains a lot, but then, that is why they sing "Mohe Mohe Tu Rang De Basanti"!