Ginger is a hot pungent, spicy fragrant root tuber that is rich in culinary functions and has great nutritional and medicinal value as is common in many traditional Indian and Chinese medicines.
The spicy Ginger root is an underground rhizome of a small plant. It is thought to have originated in the Himalayas in the parts around Northern India.
It is a perennial plant which grows about a meter (3 to 4 ft) tall. It comes with clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. The rhizome is harvested once the stalk withered and is then scalded and scraped to prevent the rhizome from propagating a new plant.
Ginger Used in Cooking Recipes
Ginger has many uses in the culinary field. it can be processed commercially, used fresh or dried depending on the needs and context of the cook. It can be processed and picked in vinegar or sherry. It can be eaten as a snack as well as cooked.
It can also be made into candy or wine. It is also an important ingredient in flavoring hot and cold beverages. In some countries such as Kenya, it is used to add a strong pungent flavor to a popular soda called Stoney Tangawizi. Other common sodas and soft drinks flavored with this spice include Ginger ale and Ginger beer.
It is popular in flavoring Southern and South East recipes in Indian recipes, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese recipes alike. It is versatile enough to add flavor to meat, poultry, seafood and vegetable dishes.
Fresh and dried Ginger tend to have different flavors even though they can be substituted for one another. When used dried one would tend to want to use about a fifth of the amount you would normally use when fresh.
The ground form is usually used as ingredients in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, biscuits, crackers, and the famous gingerbread. It is also a major ingredient in curries.
The fresh root can be stored for very long periods when refrigerated or frozen.
Ginger by any Other Name
In Kenya and East Africa, it is known as Tangawizi and it is commonly used to make Chai ya Tangawizi. In Arabic, it is called zanjabil while in Hebrew it is zangevil. In some parts of the Middle East, it is called gingayu.
In the Philippines, it is called Luya while in Malaysia it is called Halia. The Indonesians call it Jahi and in Thailand it is khing. In Burma, it is called gyin.
When ground it provides 336 Calories per 100 grams of powder. It also contains dietary fiber and carbohydrates. The B vitamins Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of Thiamin are present in Ginger.
It also contains lots of Manganese and Iron. Other minerals present include Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Sodium, and Potassium.