Ginger II

The Ultimate De-Fisher
As Fundamental as Onions

“Ginger is forever.” —  Molly O’Neill

“Half the secret of good cooking lies in de-fishing the fish, or anything in which you wish to soften down the animal flavor.  Ginger is of course a de-fisher.”– Buwei Yang Chao

Ginger in Asian Kitchens:Ginger appears in many of the Pacific Rim cuisines as an ingredient or seasoning.

Ginger Flower

In Chinese cuisine, Ginger is used for

  • stir-frying
  • steaming fish
  • finely sliced or chopped and added to soy sauce as a dip
  • cooking many dishes, especially fish and meat
  • in certain combinations, like Ginger with Crab, to balance the “cold” nature of the Crab.

Chinese cooks use Ginger as a de-fisher, to soften the flavors of animal and fish protein.

Japanese cuisine: Uses Ginger in a number of foods, to make a healing tea, as well as a special role an an accompaniment to sushi.  It is sometimes preserved for winter, though this is less common on these days of modern food distribution.

In Korean cuisine, Ginger appears as a tea, is crystallized as a sweet, and is pickled.

In Indian cuisine, Ginger, called adrak in Hindi, appears as a spice ingredient in many dishes and is often squeezed to extract its juice for use in cooking.  Pounded fresh Ginger is commonly used as a thickener in Indian cooking.

In the cuisines of Southeast Asia, Ginger in different forms is widely used to prepare many foods.

Ginger Beyond the Rim: Ginger was known to Medieval Europe and was an important medication in the time of Henry VIII.  Ginger was introduced to Jamaica in the 16th century and exported to Europe, becoming the first spice exported from the New World to the Old.  Jamaica continues to be an important exporter of Ginger, especially in the winter months.  Hawaii now also exports Ginger to continental North America in the winter.

Ginger Wine became popular in England in Georgian times and is still sold, traditionally in green bottles.  You can also make your own Ginger Wine at home. In France, Ginger appears in cakes like Rose Carrarini’s Ginger Cake, a Fusion product with Japanese influence.

Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale are popular in many countries, and you can make your own using Ginger Syrup. Ginger Beef has even given rise to a cocktail of its own: A Japanese restaurant in Chicago is offering a summer cocktail called Les Botanique —  a concoctions of Gin, Lime and Ginger Beer.

In Latin America, Ginger was spread by Spanish and Portuguese voyagers and appears in foods like Ginger Flan.  So Ginger has become acclimated worldwide and is a major ingredient in much Fusion cooking.

If you want Ginger throughout the year, you can grow your own – discussed in the next article.

The Avatars of Ginger —  Here are some of the many Avatars of Ginger we’ll look at:

Growing Ginger (Ginger Pot)
Powdered Ginger
Ginger Tea
Pink Ginger
Red Ginger
Preserved Ginger
Ginger Salad
Ginger Cake
Ginger Syrup
Crystallized Ginger
Ginger Wine
Ginger Vodka
Ginger Liqueur
Ginger Gimlet

Ginger Beer


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