Ginger is good for you and adds a pow of flavor in the kitchen. It can be stir fried, sautéed, baked, grilled, used in soups, etc.
Its history as a spice and medicinal food goes back to fourth century B.C. It was used as a remedy for nausea, stomach issues, coughs and colds.
There are many schools of thought on the best way to store fresh ginger. Some freeze it, others like to place it in a bottle full of sherry, vodka or water. I’m not a fan of freezing, I find that it changes the texture of the ginger. I use leftovers or wrinkled older pieces of ginger for making ginger tea (see recipe below) and use the tea or freeze it in tea form.
When shopping for ginger, choose roots that feel heavy, have smooth skin and are not overly wrinkled. Soft, moldy or wrinkled ginger indicates old age.
Store ginger in the refrigerator. Some like to store it in a plastic bag with all the air pushed out. The ideal is to keep the ginger dry; some wrap it in paper towel inside the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. It should keep for up to a month.
Crystallized ginger is green, pink, spring or young ginger that is candied in sugar syrup and rolled in sugar. It is often used in baking. I love using crystallized ginger thinly sliced to flavor and decorate cupcakes, cakes, muffins or sprinkled over yogurt and granola. You can also add chopped crystallized ginger to bread, cake and muffin batters.
Shallow Fried Tofu in Ginger Broth with Stir Fried Greens
Ginger is used in several ways with this soothing dish. A block of firm tofu is lightly coated in cornstarch and shallow fried so it develops a nice crust on the outside and is custardy and soft inside. Greens are stir fried with chopped ginger and ginger slices, and a ginger broth is made on top. Serve with white or brown rice.
The Greens and Ginger Broth:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon very thinly sliced ginger
- 2 tablespoons scallions, cut about 1-inch long
- 3 cups mixed greens: kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, spinach, etc.; any combination.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- One 14 ounce block firm tofu, cut in half
- About 1/4 cup cornstarch
- About 1/3 cup safflower or vegetable oil
- Cook the greens and sauce in a wok or large skillet: Heat the oil over high heat. Add the chopped and sliced ginger and scallions and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add greens and cook, 3 minutes, stirring. Add the soy sauce and broth and bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer 5 minutes. Add grated ginger just before serving.
- Meanwhile, cook the tofu: place the cornstarch in a shallow bowl or plate and coat the tofu on all sides. Heat oil in small skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Add tofu and cook about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel.
- Divide the greens and broth between two large bowls. Top with the tofu and serve hot.
Crabmeat and Ginger Dumplings
Making dumplings at home is not nearly as difficult as you might think. Here, a mixture of fresh crabmeat and ginger is stuffed into premade wonton wrappers and pinched together into a dumpling. A simple dipping sauce of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and scallions is served with the dumplings.
The Crab-Ginger Dumplings:
- 8 ounces lump crabmeat
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- 1 egg white
- Freshly ground pepper
- 16 or more wonton wrappers (a few extra in case they rip)
- Lettuce leaves
The Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon very thinly sliced ginger
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- In a bowl mix the crabmeat, chopped and grated ginger, scallion, egg white and pepper.
- Place a won ton wrapper on a clean surface in front of you. Add just under a tablespoon of the crab mixture in the center of the wrapper. Very lightly moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Then use your fingers to crimp the wrapper closed in a triangular shape, making sure the edges are well sealed. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
- Line the bottom of a steamer tray with the lettuce leaves and place the dumplings on top, making sure not to crowd them. Fill a large skillet or wok with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the steamer tray on top and steam for 5 minutes.
- Make the dipping sauce: mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Serve the hot dumplings with the dipping sauce on the side.
Ginger Tea with Honey and Lemon
You feel a tickle in the back of your throat. Is that a cold coming on? Ginger tea to the rescue. Make a double batch and keep it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.
- 1/2 cup cleaned and chopped ginger (it doesn’t need to be peeled)
- 4 cups water
- Honey and lemon to taste
- Place the chopped ginger pieces in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the ginger steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a jar.