As ingredients go, there can’t be too many that are as versatile and widely used as fresh ginger. This knobbly brown rhizome is found in both savoury and sweet dishes the world over and it is often said to be more beneficial therapeutically in untold remedies to anything from morning sickness, hangovers and stomach upsets to bad circulation and asthma, NASA astronauts even took ginger into space to combat travel sickness. As an essential oil it has also been known to be added to massage rubs and oils for rheumatic problems.
In the kitchen, fresh ginger has a deliciously sweet and fragrant aroma and a fresh, citrus slightly spicy flavour bringing a warm glow to most ingredients. It works particularly well with pumpkin, pears, melon, chocolate and coconut. An essential component in Asian cooking, you will also find it in stir fries, curries and soups. Ginger has a pale brown skin and a light yellow-coloured fibrous flesh.
Choose fresh-looking ginger with a smooth, unshrivelled skin and a firm texture. The length of the root indicates maturity, and the longer it is, the hotter and more fibrous it will be. Buy in small quantities for a fresh flavour as it deteriorates quickly and store in a cool, dry place.
Ground ginger is the dried, powdered form and is quite different from fresh. Like most spices, buy ground ginger in small quantities as its aroma and flavour diminish quite quickly. Used mainly in sweet dishes, it’s the flavour of ginger biscuits, gingerbread and brandy snaps. Add a pinch to stewed fruit for pies and crumbles or add it to spice mixes for marinades.
Try Sake poached pears with a ginger ice cream or pineapple and ginger salad with a coconut sorbet. One of the my all time favourite cooking smells is chopped onions, garlic and ginger sweating in a little olive oil, add some ground cumin, cardamom and coriander and you have a perfect base for diced chicken and pork. Add some coconut milk, lime juice and fresh coriander….now you’re really cooking.
Yellow Thai curry with chicken
We love to cook Thai food for Fosh Food Delivery service, it’s one of our favourite cuisines and the rich flavours of lemongrass, lime leaves, ginger, chillies and coriander never fail to tempt us with their fantastic tastes and aromas. This is now a form favourite with our clients!
- 4 chicken breasts, skinned & diced
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of coriander
Yellow curry paste
- 3tbsp chopped lemongrass
- 4 small red chillies, deseeded
- 5g fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- Juice of 1 lime
Place all the ingredients in a food processer and blend to a thick paste.
Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and sweat the onion and diced sweet potatoes until they start to soften.
Add the chicken breast and 2 tablespoons of yellow curry paste. Pour over the coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Season to taste, sprinkle with torn coriander leaves and serve with boiled jasmine rice.
Singapore Laska - Spicy seafood and noodle soup
For the Laksa paste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2tps fresh ginger
- 1 lemon grass stalk
- 3tbsp chopped coriander
- 2 fresh red chillies
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2tbsp peanut oil
For the soup base
- 12 raw large prawns, peeled
- 24 fresh mussels, bearded and scrubbed
- 150ml dry white wine
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4tbsp peanut oil
- 600ml chicken or fish stock
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (or grated zest of 1 lime)
- 300ml coconut milk
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 2tbsp fish sauce
- 2tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 350g dried egg noodles
For the Laksa paste
Place all the ingredients in food processor and blend to a fine puree. Set aside.
For the soup base
Heat the peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and sweat the onions over a gentle heat. Add the laska paste, white wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut milk and lime leaves. Bring to the boil, add the chicken stock and cook over a gentle heat for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente - about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
Add the noodles and mussels to the laska. Cook for 1 minute then add prawns. Simmer for 2-3 minutes then serve in deep bowls sprinkled with chopped coriander and finely chopped spring onions.