Infused in tea, pickled or candied, sauteed with beef, served with salad… The culinary possibilities of ginger are endless. With its distinctive tang, the herb stands out on its own – and adds character to any dish. It also has various medicinal properties.
In cooking, ginger is commonly used to enhance the overall flavour of a dish. Here are some tips on how to use it right.
1. Prep as needed Slice, grate or mince, depending on the dish. In restaurants, sliced ginger is used for flavouring and often removed before serving. The other methods are recommended when a more intense gingery taste is desired, or when the ginger is be incorporated into the dish, as in a sauce or gravy.
2. Intensity matters Both young and old ginger pack a flavourful punch, but the former is more aromatic and less sharp and bitter.
Compared to young ginger, galangal is lighter on the palate. To reduce its spiciness, try chopping it up and air-drying it before sprinkling it over dishes.
The ginger flower has the subtlest flavour, and is used in many Nyonya dishes, like assam laksa and fish stew, because of its distinctive floral aroma. Try grating it over a salad.
3. Watch your cooking duration Older ginger is tougher, so it’s more suited for use in soups and stews where it can be boiled and simmered for a long time to allow the full flavour to be released.
4. No hard and fast rules It’s not true that ginger should only be paired with certain foods. Another misconception is that since it’s fiery, it shouldn’t be cooked with anything with a similarly pungent taste. In fact, ginger and galangal are often made into a paste and combined with other spices for curry. To find out, experiment!
Next: Try these three ginger recipes by the renowned The Halia to tease your taste buds