14 Jan 2007

Pep up your life with Ginger

From ancient times up until today ginger has been valued for both its medicinal properties plus the special spicy flavor it adds to both sweet and savory dishes. Ginger is available in many forms with fresh, candied and dried being the most popular. Very few households are without ginger in one form or another.

The part of the ginger plant used is the underground rhizome. The flesh of the rhizome can be white, yellow, or red. It is covered with a brownish skin.

Nutritionally ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. Medicinally its volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds such as gingerols and shogaols are thought to promote healing.

Ginger is an excellent natural first aid kit on its own. It relieves many problems like stomach or menstrual cramps, morning sickness, travel sickness, colds and headaches simply by chewing the raw root or drinking ginger tea. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory and relieves both arthritis and rheumatism pain.

See my other blog Herbs 'n Oils for more health info.

Warning: It is advised not to give ginger to children under two years old or in excess to people with high blood pressure. If taking blood thinners check with your doctor before eating ginger often.

Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and in the freezer for up to six months. Ginger powder should be kept in a cool dark place or refrigerator. Do not peel before storing.

In the East ginger tended to be used in savory dishes and in the West in sweet dishes but with more people in the West trying recipes from foreign lands this is changing and ginger is becoming popular added to everything from the Starter to the Dessert. Some easy ways to add ginger to your diet is putting it in stir-fry, fruit juices, salad dressings and added to vegetables like sweet potatoes.


Asian Ginger Dressing
From Vegetarian Times

1/2 cup rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sherry
2 tbsps chopped peeled fresh gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsps apple juice concentrate
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

In small saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using slotted spoon, discard garlic and ginger. Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly, about 2
minutes. Transfer to small bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Mango Ginger Tofu
Submitted by Isa from PostPunkKitchen
You can prepare this in several ways, it is fabulous as a grilling marinade. Here I give you conventional oven instructions. It's tropical, warm, a little spicy and a little sweet. The marinade will fill your kitchen with the most amazing scent while the tofu is cooking. This amount will feed 4 to 6 if accompanied by some jasmine rice.

2 9x13 baking pans or 1 huge baking pan
a blender
medium sauce pot with a cover that fits

For the marinade:
3 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 tsps peanut oil or veg oil
2 large mangos, roughly chopped (note: you will need one more mango when cooking the tofu, see below)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup white cooking wine (or vegetable broth)
fresh black pepper to taste
dash of salt
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsps rice vinegar (use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if you dont have rice)
juice of two limes
1 cup orange juice

Ingredients for the tofu
2 blocks tofu extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 mango, sliced in long thin slices
1 red pepper, seeded and cut in long thin slices

Make the marinade: In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil, add garlic, ginger and jalepeno, saute on medium heat 7 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add 2 chopped mangos and saute 5 minutes Add pure maple syrup and wine, cover and simmer 35 minutes; Uncover and simmer 5 more minutes. Add orange juice, vinegar, lime, black pepper, allspice and salt; Add mixture to blender, puree until smooth.

Prepare the tofu: Cut tofu blocks into 8 slabs each. Place tofu in marinade in a sealable plastic bag or tupperware. Marinate in the fridge for an hour and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375
Reserve about half of the marinate. Lay marinated tofu in a single layer in baking pan. Cook for 20 minutes. Flip tofu over and add more marinade. Dredge peppers and sliced mangos in marinade and add them to pan. Cook another 15 minutes. Heat up remaining marinade in a sauce pan and put in a bowl on the table (or floor, where ever you're eating) so guests (or room mates, or who ever is eating) can pour it over the tofu. Serve over jasmine rice, with a steamed vegetable, such as aspararus or broccoli.

Yam Coconut Curry Soup (serves 2)
From Pam Rotella's Fun Vegetarian Page
This is a sweet and mild curry soup - one of my favorites. Blended fresh coconut gives the soup an interesting texture and refreshing taste. If kept as a leftover, the ginger root marinates this soup, and it becomes hotter.

1 & 1/2 cups diced, steamed, and peeled yams
1/2 cup fresh coconut pieces
1 tbsp steamed, peeled, and diced ginger root
1 tbsps curry powder
2 cups water, distilled preferred

Combine all ingredients in electric blender; cover with lid and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into medium-sized saucepan and heat to serving temperature.

Fresh Ginger Beer
From Cooking Light

2 cups cold water
1 cup fresh lime juice
4 tsps bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (or sweener of choice like maple syrup)
3 cups sparkling water
Lime slices (optional)

Combine water, juice, and ginger in a blender; process until blended.Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Strain mixture over a pitcher; discard solids. Add sugar to pitcher; stir until dissolved.Add sparkling water just before serving. Serve over ice. Garnish with lime slices, if desired. Makes 8 cups.

Chopped Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing
From Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced seeded peeled cucumber
3/4 cup shredded peeled butternut squash or carrot
3/4 cup diagonally sliced snow peas
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tbsps seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsps yellow miso (soybean paste)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsps vegetable oil
1 tbsps minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

To prepare salad, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients; stir well with a whisk. Pour over salad, tossing to coat. 8 x 1/2 cup servings.

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Anonymous said...

This post is right up my alley! I love ginger and your recipes sound delicious - especially the homemade ginger beer which I haven't had in a very long time.

Dori said...

Homemade ginger beer is something I have never tried before. A new experience maybe awaiting me soon.

Jackie said...

The normal ginger beer takes days to make which I normally cannot be bothered to do so I look for quick recipes.

aTxVegn said...

I love ginger, and that salad with ginger miso dressing sounds really good. I must not be eating enough lately, because it seems I've been sick all winter!

Anonymous said...

great post, i love ginger!

bazu said...

I love ginger too, and am always looking for new ginger dressings.

Has anyone had this problem though? Lately, whenever I drink ginger tea (fresh ginger steeped in hot water) I feel sick to my stomach! I wonder what it is...?

Oh, and ginger freezes really well.

Dori said...

I know you have been posting things beyond this ginger post, because I can read it on the bloglines reader. However when I come to your blog to comment, all I get is the ginger post.

Fran said...

Awesome posts, Jackie, both here and at your Herbs n' Oils blog. I'm gonna try several recipes from both: the ginger beer and the ginger beauty creams, and that sweet-and-sour lettuce recipe from here. I'm adding some ingredients to my shopping list for today!

Bazu, sometimes herbs used for treating something can also cause that something (i.e., valerian is primarily a calmative yet can sometimes cause excitability) if too high a dose is taken or if consumed too regularly over a long period of time, especially for strong herbs, and especially for specific people. I think ginger is a strong herb; it can be a bit caustic. My husband thinks it upsets his stomach too, though usually when powdered with other spices like in curries, so I'm not sure if it's totally the ginger or even the ginger at all. He seems to think it is because he isn't crazy about the powder's taste; he finds it sickening sometimes. In contrast, fresh raw ginger doesn't bother him. I use quite a bit in things like sushi and he's not had any problems.

Each person's unique body may work and respond slightly differently, especially to more medicinal plants with their stronger constituents.

Daryl W.T. Lau said...

very nice site for various recipes I must say. Will definitely try out some of those unique ones u posted.

Daryl Lau
Authentic Malaysian Cuisine

Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

Hi Jackie!
As always, I find something delicious and useful on your site.
I was wondering if you'd like to exchange links.
My new blog address is:

(you may remember me from blogspot).
(galli galli sim sim)

Heather in Beautiful British Columbia said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your recipes look delicious - I'm not a vegan but might give some of them a try for a nice change :)

Anonymous said...

I always learn so much from your posts. I'm going to have to try the Asian Ginger dressing recipe -- I'm sure it much tastier than store-bought. I've never been quite sure how to use fresh ginger so I use a ginger/garlic paste for most of my recipes. Thanks for the info.

Urban Vegan said...

I adore ginger--and am ready to try all of the recipes you posted. I love how it's spicy and sweeet at the same time.

Candi said...

I love ginger too, and the recipes look great. The mango tofu one is a recipe I must have overlooked, so thank you for pointing that out! :)

Green Earth said...

That ginger yam curry sounds delicious. Look forward to trying it out, The Artist

Naomi said...

Great post Jackie. I love ginger too and swear by it for travel sickness. I also take ginger tablets and crystallized ginger on long trips. Great recpes too!

Dirty Butter said...

I drink ginger tea to help with nausea I sometimes have with my Parkinson's meds. It took me awhile to get used to the taste, but now I love it.

bazu said...

Thank you for your advice, Fran!

Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...

Thankyou for opening my pallet

Dirty Butter said...

Just stopping by to see how you were doing. I hope you are having a great week!

Anonymous said...

Ginger, mmmmmmmm !
I always have some in my fridge :)

The dressing sounds amazing !
Thank you, once again.

Linda said...

thanks so much for sharing this recipe! i have ginger dressing from the bottle at home but i hate using preservatives! this is perfect.

i'm so glad to have come across your site -- you really have some amazing recipes from what i can see. be back soon!

Kilroy_60 said...

I'm not sure if I can ever stop eating meat. Although, yes, I know it would be a good thing to do. TheSpecialOne has changed my diet tremendously in terms of health. This will undoubtedly soon be one of her favorite websites.

Thanks for joining in the carnival!

Should you think we have linkability let me know. I'd be pleased to do an exchange.

RUTH said...

I found this really interesting especially as I am attempting to grow ginger at the moment.

Naomi said...

Great post Jackie. I love ginger too and swear by it for travel sickness. I also take ginger tablets and crystallized ginger on long trips. Great recipes too! Could do with something to pep up my life - will have to get some ginger! I'm visiting you from the Blog Village carnival

CyberCelt said...

If you travel to other countries, it is not always possible to get medications for tourist belly, so I have learned to spot ginger in the markets.

My mother used to give us Gingerale when we were sick. I never realized it was the ginger and not the bubbly that helped my stomach.

Grate blog. Here from the Blog Village carnival.

Green Earth said...

Calling over from `The Blog Village Health Carnival' to say how much I enjoy this post.

Lynda Lippin said...

Great recipes and information. I have always used ginger for an upset stomach, and you have confirmed why!

From the Blog Village carnival

Pilates & Reiki In paradise Website
Pilates & Reiki In Paradise Blog

Dirty Butter said...

Looks like a lot of folks found this post to be interesting and useful, Jackie. I'm glad you chose to include it in our BLOG VILLAGE Health Carnival.