| Mandarin : Jiang |
Thai : Khing | Japanese : Shoga | Cantonese : Geung
Ginger is believed to be indigenous to the tropical jungles of South-east Asia, and was
introduced in China by way of India more than two thousand years ago. The portion of the
plant popularly called root ginger is actually a rhizome or underground stem. When ginger is
young it is pale pink in color and gradually changes to a shade of golden beige, with a dry
and papery skin. The mighty ginger is highly popular and valued throughout Asia, not only as
an aromatic, but also for its medicinal properties. It is believed to aid digestion, check
coughs and quell nausea.
root ginger (green ginger) has a refreshing scent, reminiscent of citrus, and a pleasant,
somewhat sharp flavor. Young ginger is tender and mild enough to be stir-fried as a
vegetable, while older roots become fibrous and more pungent. Root ginger is available
dried, but taste quite different from fresh ginger. It is used mainly as a pickling spice
and most cooks in Asia would not consider it an acceptable substitute for the fresh root.
Ground ginger taste different again; in the Asian region its use is limited to mixing with
other ground spices such as when making curry powder.
ginger is an indispensable cooking ingredient in Asian cooking. It is a member of the
'holy trinity' of Asian ingredients together with garlic and onion. Ginger is also
popularly paired with spring onions to create a ying-yang balance in a wide variety
of dishes; the cool spring onion providing the yin and the hot ginger the yang.
Together complement (and some times tame) the dominant flavors of certain meats and seafood.
Ginger is also used on its own to cut the oily flavors of some cooking oils and marinades.
In Thailand, sticks of young ginger are often served as dippers with a spicy sauce, while
Indonesians make a wonderful sambal (accompaniment) by grinding chilies, shallots and garlic
with ginger, and stirring in sugar, salt and rice vinegar. Pickled ginger also plays an
important role in oriental cooking. It can be served on its own as a side dish, or combined
with other ingredients such as beef or duck. One of the most popular items on a Chinese
restaurant menu is duck with pickled ginger and pineapple. Chinese pickled ginger has a more
delicate flavor. The pale pink type called gari (Japanese pickled ginger) is always
served with sushi or sashimi to refresh the palate between mouthfuls.
& cooking techniques..
ginger is usually peeled before being used. The thin, tough skin is quite easy to scrape or
cut away and then the flesh is thinly sliced, grated, shredded or finely chopped. When the
ginger is intended purely for use as a flavoring, and is discarded after cooking, it should
be bruised using the flat blade of a knife or cleaver.
used to be difficult to get really fresh, juicy root ginger in the shops, but it is now
readily available. Look for firm pieces with smooth skin. If bought really fresh, root
ginger will keep well for up to two weeks in a cool, dry place, away from strong light. Root
ginger can also be frozen. It can be grated from the freezer and will thaw on contact
with hot food.
Asian Melting Pot
Subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter below