At the first sign of a cold, drinking a fresh ginger tea infusion will often stave off a full-blown illness. A ginger infusion with lemon and honey is known to relieve and even cure a sore throat. For vegans who eschew the use of honey, the same tea can be made without it. A skin-rejuvenating rub can be made by warming a combination of finely chopped or grated ginger, fresh lime juice, and epsom salt. But by far the most pleasurable way to obtain the wonderful health benefits of ginger is to enjoy it in food.
These pictures illustrate a few ways to prepare fresh ginger for various culinary uses. Click on the images to enlarge them, if you wish:
|When a recipe calls for grated ginger or ginger juice, there are a few ways to go about this. Pictured here are a Japanese ceramic ginger grater, a small steel grater, and a microplaner, along with a peeled piece of ginger (called a rhizome). Because ginger is very fibrous, rubbing it across a traditional grater will carve away bits of the tender flesh and release some juice, leaving the long fibers behind. For "grated ginger," you would simply gather up the pulp with the juice and add it to your recipe. For juice, you would squeeze the pulp over a small dish and collect the juice that way. I used this technique for many years, until the microplaner was invented.|
|A microplaner has hundreds of razor-sharp blades that slice super-thin shavings off the ginger, fibers and all, making this the ultimate "grating" tool.|
|It's been called a "rasp," but this is a terrible misnomer, because whereas a rasp abrades the surface of something, this tool actually cuts with surgical precision, releasing much less juice than the traditional grater does.|
|For other applications, slices of various thicknesses may be called for. This is best accomplished with a very sharp knife--again, to avoid crushing the juices out as you work.|
Of course, you can also use a blender to incorporate fresh ginger into a sauce, chutney or other preparation. In order to avoid a stringy result, however, it's best to first cut very thin slices, across the grain as illustrated above.
For a fun spicy snack or hors d'oeuvre, check out my recipe for "Papadums with Fresh Green Chutney" in Speed Vegan, or watch my YouTube demonstration.
There is also a fast, easy recipe for a gingery salad dressing in my first book, Omega 3 Cuisine:
Quick Ginger Vinaigrette
Makes about 1⁄3 cup
Makes about 1⁄3 cup
1 piece (2 inches) peeled fresh ginger, grated
1⁄4 cup Udo’s Oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a small bowl
and discard the pulp. Add the remaining ingredients and
whisk furiously until emulsified.
Note: This book was written before the advent of the fabulous microplaner, so if you have access to one, you can add the entire pulp, and there won't be any strings in it! This recipe makes a small amount, so if you'd rather make more at one time, you might prefer to use a blender (remember to slice the ginger first!). You can substitute with a different oil, if you prefer, such as almond or walnut. If you'd prefer a lighter color, try "golden," or "white" balsamic, or brown rice vinegar. You might also vary this with other Asian flavors, by throwing in some sliced lemongrass, or sriracha sauce. Walk on the wild side...