Coarse & Fine Ginger All the Time
Ginger so much to offer and asks for so little. Peel, slice, chop or scratch your way down to ginger's aromatic flesh. Ginger has been used to treat nausea, motion sickness, and indigestion around the globe. Mixed reviews claim that ginger can treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and may prevent heart disease. The knobby tuber of the Zingiber plant pairs up with spicy flavors (garlic, chilies, coriander, cumin, basil) savory (pork, chicken, seafood, legumes, onion, vegetables, basically everything) and sweet (cookies & cake, pear, pineapple, plums, and other fruits). It also deserves its own spot light as the major flavor.
Ginger can be bought ground as a powder, in sweet crystallized cubes, or fresh. In America ginger is commonly found in its mature form with a tough skin, but dig around Asian specialty stores and you may find young ginger with edible skin. When buying ginger look for firm smooth skin, not wrinkly or dried. Avoid pieces with mold.
Ginger roots can be stored in cool dark places. Cut pieces should be wrapped in a paper or plastic bag and will last anywhere from 2-3 weeks before it dries up or gets refrigerator funky. To get the most from your ginger try storing peeled pieces in a jar of brandy, vodka, or vermouth. The ginger and liquor will swap flavors, making the liquid wonderful to cook with and mellowing the ginger
The kitchen gadget people have created a device just for grating ginger. Such ingredient-specific tools are banned from my kitchen. I prefer mulit-tasking tools mostly for space saving reasons.
Methods coax that ginger out with your regular kitchen tools and your wits:
a) Coarse fresh ginger: Break off knobs/finger from larger root/hand of ginger. Peel skin with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife. Grate ginger on the large holes of a cheese grater. The large holes quickly grate the ginger, where smaller holes don't have the capacity. This size ginger is excellent for soups, stir fry, and any other dish with big ginger flavor.
Lentil Ginger Garlic Soup
1 cup yellow lentils
4 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
2 tblsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tblsp coarse ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
Combine lentils, water, onion, salt, and oil in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt to taste, simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve.
b) Fine fresh ginger: Break off knobs/finger from larger root/hand of ginger. Peel skin with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife. Chop ginger and place in food processor. Grind until evenly pureed. I successfully pureed ginger with my coffee grinder shaking and stirring it every so often. A powerful blender should work too. The fine ginger is ready for marinades, BBQ Sauce, drinks, sauces, or any dish where ginger may be served raw.
1 tblsp grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
2 green onions coarsely chopped
1 tsp chili sauce (optional)
1 tblsp molasses
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake. Coat fish, chicken, tofu, or beef in a sealed container. Marinate 20-30 minutes, flipping once. Marinate will last 3-4 weeks.
c) Fine fresh ginger for steeping: Ginger is good for making syrup, tea, or any dish that requires simmering and straining the ginger out. The most economical use, less flesh is lost in peeling. The skin will not hurt the food's flavor, just don't serve it! Chop ginger with skins coarsely and place in food processor. Grind until evenly pureed.
Ginger simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pureed ginger
Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes, turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquids for iced tea or alcoholic drinks.
1 tsp pureed ginger
2 slice lemon
2 whole cloves
8 oz water
Bring all to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes or longer covered. Strain and savor. Great for a cold, congestion, upset stomach or whatever ails you.
Other stellar uses for ginger include: apple pie, sauerkraut, pickled, pickled with watermelon, in a chutney, Finnish ginger cookies, and definitely try Thurston's authentic ginger beer.