Waking up to an autumn morning, as the skies are grey and the leaves turning yellow, red, and brown, while grating ginger for our morning cuppa, it struck me that it was now time for this zesty warm spice’s addition to my ongoing series.
Our morning cuppa is the Indian chai made by boiling black tea leaves in water and milk (we prefer equal quantity of milk and water), finished off by adding freshly grated ginger, and I, personally do enjoy it sweet.
“Ginger can add a delightful kick to any dish.” quoting Louis Perry Anderson, American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and game show host. That is so true. Be a savoury dish, or a sweet one, ginger adds a zing to it. Be it for baking, creating a flavour contrast or sautéing, in gravies, or even drinks, just adding a little ginger zest to the orange drink making it deliciously flavoured and refreshing. And of course, not forgetting the ginger ale and beers! And then, with the gingerbread cookies, the distinct ginger flavour cannot be missed.
Not to forget, ginger has several medicinal properties; anti-inflammatory, good for flatulence, and helpful in motion sickness. Usually, we have at home a bottle of grated ginger, grated fresh turmeric if available else turmeric powder to which we add lime juice, salt & asafoetida. In case of nausea, overeating, or simply when feeling sick, this is a “go to” medicine for us. Just a spoonful as it is or adding it to a cup of water makes one feel better. This, in turn, reminded of the marinated ginger that is served in the Japanese restaurants and how it cleanses the palate and makes one feel good. Marinating meat or chicken with ginger is also common stuff.
Aloo Gobhi, a favourite of my kid, a potato and cauliflower veggie, and in this I usually add grated ginger in the tempering and then thin ginger batons as I finish the dish. The slightly raw ginger sticks add to the flavour along with coriander. To make aloo Gobhi, in the tempering I add cumin seeds, asafoetida, grated ginger (maybe around half an inch) and once done, I add in the sliced green chili cauliflower pieces. I then mix everything, cover and let it cook for a minute or two. Afterwards, I add in 2 tablespoons of beaten yoghurt, mix it well, add in turmeric, cover the pot, and cook till the cauliflower is cooked. Then I add in boiled chopped potatoes, salt, mix everything, and cover it up. Once almost done, I finish it up with finely chopped tomato (as per taste) and the thinly sliced ginger batons. Garnishing with coriander, this veggie taste well with chapati (bread) or rice.
One can also add ginger to a chutney of finely chopped and marinated strawberry in lime juice and sugar. Once cooked, the ginger gives a warming and fiery kick to the chutney. This can pair well on the sides or even as a spread on the bread.
Then, candied ginger is quite well known and enjoyed by many of us. We go a step further and make ‘ale pak’ or ale vadi,’ that is ginger fudge. Made with grated ginger and cooked in milk and sugar, this alepak is usually made in winter. It is a sure shot medicine to fight cold, cough, aids in digestion, and can be useful for nausea, and morning sicknesses too.
Quoting Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor, “ginger is not only a root “, so true it is! Time for a candied ginger as the seasons now change.
Engineer by education, passionate photographer &
ood enthusiast from India, living in Vaasa, and is happy to contribute to this column
which combines her love for food & photography.