Also Known As
Root Ginger, Gingembre, Adrak, Inji
What is Ginger, Adrak?
It is the underground stem/ tuber of the ginger plant which was originally cultivated in Asia. This rhizome is now grown in West Africa, the Caribbean etc. It is used in various forms like fresh, tender, dried, crystallized and in the powder form. In Asian cooking, ginger is almost always used minced, crushed or sliced.
In order to finely chop ginger, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place on a chopping board and thinly slice. Collect all the slices and then make vertical strips or juliennes. Combine all the julienne pieces/ strips and place vertically on the chopping board parallel to you. Make horizontal cuts at regular lengths and get chopped ginger. Chopped ginger is used in gravies, stews, breads etc.
In order to crush ginger, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place on a chopping board and coarsely crush or finely crush using a rolling pin. Alternatively, place in a mortar pestle and crush the ginger using the pestle. If crushing in large quantities, you can use a blender to make it easy for you. Crushed ginger is used in teas, gravies, etc.
To make ginger juice, grate ginger using a grater and then place the gratings in a muslin cloth. Press the muslin cloth to get fresh ginger juice. If using large amounts of ginger, place the ginger along with some water in a juicer and then grind. Strain and then use as required. Place ginger juice in sterilised bottles and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Ginger juice is used in mock tails, marinades, dressings, sauces etc.
In order to make ginger juliennes, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place on a chopping board and thinly slice. Collect all the slices and then make vertical strips to get juliennes. Ginger juliennes are used commonly in Chinese cuisine. It can be deep fried and used as a garnish for soups, Indian gravies etc.
To make ginger paste, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place in a blender/ mixer along with some water and grind till you get a fine paste. You can combine with garlic cloves to make ginger garlic paste. Ginger paste should be stored under refrigerated conditions. Ginger paste is used in marinades for starters, in gravies and curies etc.
In order to make ginger roundels, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place on a chopping board and make vertical slits at regular intervals to get roundels. Make them fine or thick as required. Ginger roundels are used mostly to flavour stocks, gravies and soups.
In order to grate ginger, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Grate using a grater. You can even thickly grate or thinly grate ginger as per recipe requirements.
In order to make ginger juliennes, wash and peel the outer skin using the blunt end of the knife or a peeler. Place on a chopping board and make vertical slices, thickly or thnly, as per recipe requirements.
How to select Ginger
Ginger usually has a pale yellow interior and the skin can vary from off white to brown. Ensure that it is firm to touch and not moist. It should be free from cuts, blemishes and bruises.
Culinary Uses of Ginger
· Ginger is used in food in varied forms which can be fresh, dried or in juice form.
· Freshly chopped ginger is used to flavour stocks, soups, stews and gravies.
· Tender ginger has a mild flavour and is often pickled in vinegar or a flavoured brine. Alternatively, combine sliced tender ginger with lemon juice, green chillies and salt to make a "ready to eat" pickle.
· Thinly sliced or crushed ginger is used in flavouring teas.
· It is widely used in the bakery. Candied ginger is used in flavouring cookies, cakes, crackers etc.
· Ginger and lemon are an excellent combination and is widely used in preparation of lime and ginger syrups etc.
· Ginger finds prominence as the main ingredient in Ginger ale, ginger beer etc.
· Finely chopped ginger is sautéed along with onions, garlic and other spices to temper dals, gravies etc.
· Ginger is used in the preparation of a candy called "Inji Murappa" which is a local sweetmeat sold in all shops.
· Ginger is minced along with garlic to make ginger garlic paste. Now days, this paste is readily available in packaged form in all stores. Ginger garlic paste is used as a base for all gravies and also added in dry subzis etc.
· Minced ginger is used as a marinade in many tandoori starters, chicken recipes etc.
· Chopped ginger is always combined with curry leaves and green chilies to make Upmas in South India.
· Ginger, in the dried form, is called dried ginger or Soonth. It is used for flavouring teas and also to make various aromatic masalas and powders which go into the making of subzis and gravies.
· Ginger, in the dried form, is used for making All spice powder which is used in marinades, gravies etc.
How to store Ginger
Always store ginger under refrigerated conditions. Place in zip lock bags or freeze bags before storing them. Crystallised ginger and dried ginger should always be placed in an air tight container and then stored in the fridge.
Health Benefits of Adrak, Ginger
· Ginger is an effective cure for congestion, sore throat, cold and cough.
· It is noted as having antioxidant effects.
· Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.
· It aids digestion. Thus it helps relieve indigestion, diarrhea, stomach cramps etc.
· It is used to treat nausea.
· The anti inflammatory properties help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, muscle pains etc.
· Ginger's therapeutic properties help stimulate blood circulation, cleanse the bowels and kidneys, remove toxins from the body and nourish the skin.
· It is used in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory problems.