Ginger is a tuber that has long been in use for its varied beneficial properties. Apart from being a digestive aid, it has been used to help in providing relief from nausea, menstrual cramps, sore throats, insomnia, pain relief, fever, cold, and flu. Root ginger originates from south Asia, and is used extensively in Oriental and Indian cuisine.
It is often added to tea, herbal infusions, and of course to meals, and has a dominant sweet-spicy taste that complements a number of ingredients. As a culinary aid, it is invaluable, and forms the basis of a number of recipes. Here are some ginger root recipes to get you started.
Most recipes use ginger root more as a spice than an ingredient, because of its inherent ability to add flavor when used in small quantities. Indian cuisine for instance, uses it extensively, often in conjunction with garlic, as base flavors, to which other ingredients are then added.
Oriental cuisine, particularly Japanese food, uses a pickled version as a prime ingredient. Its extract can also be used where fresh ginger is not available.
Note: Each recipe yields 4 servings.
- Chicken breasts, 1lb (boneless, skinned, cut into 1 inch pieces)
- Yams, 1 lb (sliced into juliennes)
- Spring onions, 1/3 cup (chopped)
- Onion, 1 small (sliced)
- Dry Sherry, 3 tbsp
- Dark soy sauce, 3 tbsp
- Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
- Fresh ginger root, 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
- Brown sugar, 1 ½ tbsp
- Cornstarch, 1 ½ tsp
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy based pan or wok, then add the onions and sauté till golden brown. Add the yams and cook over a medium flame until tender, tossing frequently to ensure even browning. Remove from heat and place on a plate; keep warm.
- Return the pan to the flame and heat the remaining oil. On a high flame, add the ginger and then chicken, and stir fry till the chicken is cooked through - about 3 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken run clear.
- Add the onions and yams, then the soy sauce, sherry, and brown sugar. Mix the cornstarch with enough water to make a runny paste, then add this as well. Bring to the boil, and then add the spring onions. Serve immediately.
Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Milk
- Carrots, 1 ½ lb (cut into cubes)
- Chicken stock, 3 cups
- Coconut milk, 2 ½ cups (unsweetened)
- Spring onion bulbs, ¾ cup (finely chopped)
- Olive oil, 2 tbsp
- Lime juice, 1 tbsp
- Fresh ginger root, 1 tbsp (grated fine, juice reserved)
- Curry powder, 2 tsp
- Chives, to garnish
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the onions and ginger with the juice, then sauté till golden brown. Then add the carrots and half the chicken stock, and simmer till the carrots are done. Cool, and process in a liquidizer; blend until smooth.
- Return the puree to the heat, add the remaining stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the flame, and add the coconut milk, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.
Ginger Root Tea
- Water, 4 cups
- Fresh ginger root, 2 inch piece (peeled and sliced)
- Honey, 4 tsp
- Lemon slice, 4
- Place the ginger slices and water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and leave it to infuse for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Strain the infusion into mugs and serve with honey and lemon slices.
The health benefits of the ginger root tea are manifold - it's great for colds and itchy throats, headaches and migraine, though it's best to avoid the lemon when thus afflicted. The addition of honey complements the flavor of ginger and adds to the beneficial properties of this tea.
Adding ginger to your meals is a great way to up the health benefits and to keep healthy. Take advantage of these recipes and add some spice to your life!