Ginger is so ubiquitous in the kitchen that we don’t often pay attention to it as an ingredient on its own. It especially features in dishes from India, S.E. Asian countries, China and Japan. In our kitchen, it is in every day use, and our main dishes that feature ginger are salads, vegetable dishes, soups, summery drinks, milky chai and infused teas.
The best time to freeze ginger or make Ginger or Ginger-Garlic Paste is Late Summer or Early Autumn. Ginger and garlic are plentiful then, good quality, local and cheap. You can often get young ginger at this time – it is gentler in flavour and delicious.
A good strategy for Autumn is to make a couple of jars of Garlic Paste and Ginger Paste (or Ginger-Garlic Paste), freeze 1 or 2 kgs of garlic, broken into cloves, to supplement the paste, and freeze some ginger root. Adjust the amounts to suit your family’s consumption of garlic and garlic.
Pickles are an essential part of Indian life, and such is the love for them that people wax lyrical about the tastes and variety. And this subsection of the Indian cuisine is worthy of the praise. There is nothing that is equivalent outside of India.
Pickle making is usually a family affair, with the rooftops crowded with ingredients drying and pickle jars fermenting. But occasionally, one needs a quick pickle, a fresh one, one for an afternoon snack of roti or rice.
Green mango is perfect for this pickle, but alternatives exist. See the notes below the recipe.
I have been looking for seaweeds in my local neighbourhood, and have been surprised at the scarcity and price! The range seems to be dictated by the “superfood” label rather than considering them as ingredients. The range is also limited to Dulse, Nori and Wakame, with nare a piece of kombu in sight (one shop owner even asked me what kombu was!). Sigh. A quick search online finds them at half the store price but the range remains the same in most cases. I found an online shop stocking Seaweed Spaghetti (The Essential Ingredient) and quickly ordered some.
It is a pity that it is not more common, as this recipe, one of Ottolenghi’s in Plenty More, makes great use of Sea Spaghetti. It looks like dark fettuccine and has a similar texture. Perhaps it should be called Sea Fettuccine, to be more precise. If you are keen to try this, but find it is impossible to find Sea Spaghetti, and if you have wakame in the pantry, use that. Or use any seaweed that you have or can find locally. You will just have to prepare it specifically for the type of seaweed, rather than cooking it as described in this recipe.
A refreshing tea with enormous health benefits.
Turmeric is a very special spice with amazing medicinal properties, and is one that can be added to all sorts of dishes. Here we add it to Ginger and Mandarin to make an exciting tea for relaxing afternoons.
In order to increase turmeric absorption in the body, we add a little bit of fat to the tea, such as a a little of ghee or coconut oil. Alternatively, a little black pepper can be added as it contains piperine which aids the absorption of turmeric’s curcumin.
Be mindful when handling the turmeric as it stains easily – clothes, cutting boards, kitchen tops, fingers.
Have I mentioned how important yoghurt is in our kitchen? We use it a lot – from lassi drinks, to salad dressings, to yoghurt curries, chilled soups, to pachadi dishes like this one, to all sorts of Middle Eastern dishes. We drain it to make it thick, we pile it on our overnight oats for breakfast and we drizzle it over fruit salads.
This dish, Ginger and Coconut Pachadi, can be used as an Indian Chutney (ie as a little on the side to eat with the main dishes) or more like an Indian Yoghurt Salad.
Crispy Fried Ginger is a great garnish for vegetables and rice. It is easy to make and adds volumes of flavour. Keep a bowl of these, along with crispy garlic, curry leaves, sage and shallots, right next to your stove.
Who does not know the delights of pickled ginger these days? Ubiquitous with sushi, it is as common today as pickled beetroot. Come to think of it, much more common. In 1999, when I first made this, it was a different matter, and if you wanted pink pickled ginger, you made your own. Enjoy!
Pickling ginger prolongs the pleasure of good fresh young ginger which in normal circumstances is available for only 4 months of the year. Pickled ginger is coloured a beautiful pink. It is a delight on its own; savour it. Nibble it while pouring the wine after work or whilst cooking dinner. Use as a relish for curries. Accompany any grilled or fried dishes. Serve next to some naked and solitary fried tofu for a stunning effect. And of course, eat with Sushi and other Japanese meals. Continue reading “Pickled Ginger”
Ginger is an erect plant with thickened, fleshy and aromatic rhizomes. Used in different forms as a food, flavouring and spice, it is related to turmeric and galangal, and is one of the most ancient culinary and medicinal spices around.
“Everything good is found in ginger”.
— An Ancient Indian Proverb
Did you know that 50% of the world’s harvest of ginger is produced in India? It is not surprising as it is one of the most used spices in India cooking.From vegetable dishes to desserts, ginger is a must in every Indian kitchen.