In India, along with the pongal season arrives a slew of rhizomes in the market that are associated with this festival. Fresh Ginger & turmeric are found everywhere, whole plants with the rhizomes still caked in fresh muddy earth. The aroma is incomparable.
At home, invariably after the festivities were over there would be plenty of the fresh turmeric & ginger left over after some had been replanted in pots (Its quite another story that we needed to eventually buy more next year!) for the next season, my dad would dice these finely, add finely minced green chilli, salt & a dash of lime to make this yummy relish/salad.. (it was a bit too spicy to load up by the ladleful, but mild & piquant enough to scarf down generously for an 'achar' (pickle/relish), so in later years I took to calling this a salsa). My mother in her characteristic southie tradition would add a tadka of mustard & a pinch of asafetida. This was one of my late fathers signature dishes & I can't take the credit for it.
1/4 cup Fresh Turmeric root grated or diced fine
1/4 cup Mango ginger ( available in Indian grocery stores) grated or diced finely
1/2 cup tender ginger root grated or diced finely.
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 - 1/2 a jalapeno, seeds removed minced fine
Salt to taste.
For the tadka:
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida (optional)
Combine the grated turmeric, mango ginger & ginger in a bowl with the minced jalapeno. add the salt & lime juice & toss lightly. In a skillet, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds once the seeds sputter, remove from fire add the asafetida, stir well & drizzle over the salsa. Serve with any rice dish of your choice.