Turmeric. This spice comes from the ginger family and is native to southern Asia where it has been cultivated since ancient times in China and Indonesia. It is also cultivated today in India, Jamaica, Haiti and Peru. The plant grows to around three feet high and has large bright green and yellow flowers. Once the roots have been cleaned and oven dried, they are ground into a peppery flavoured orange-yellow powder. An essential part of every Arabic curry dish in the UAE.