The spice adds a kick to different types of food and drinks, and can also be eaten on its own when pickled or candied.
A rhizome used to flavour food and drinks, ginger is native to Asia. It belongs to the same family as turmeric. Ginger forms an important part of Indian and East Asian cuisine, and is sought after for its strong aroma, taste and medicinal properties.
The spice adds a kick to different types of food and drinks, and can also be eaten on its own when pickled or candied. Incorporating ginger in your diet is easy, since it’s found in a lot of treats.
Ginger churan or ‘adrak pachak’
Vendors selling churan and candy in India usually stock ‘adrak pachak’, a churan made with ginger. Pieces of ginger coated in salt and spices work as an excellent digestive and immunity booster. It’s also tasty and makes an addictive snack to eat in between meals.
Some versions of masala chai, especially those sold by street vendors, contain ginger. ‘“Adrak wali chai” is a favourite with many Indians, especially during the colder months. Also infused with cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper, it makes a comforting brew. Ginger tea can also be non-caffeinated, made by boiling ginger in hot water and then adding lemon and honey to it.
Ginger cookies needn’t be reserved for Christmas. Crumbly and sugar-studded, they are the ideal accompaniment to tea or coffee. A hint of the spice makes ginger cookies moreish. They can be found on supermarket shelves under various brand names or at specialist bakeries.
A sweet fizzy drink made with ginger, ginger ale is very refreshing in the summer. The fizziness is a result of fermentation or can even be induced artificially. Ginger ale sometimes also has other flavouring like citrus, berries and even chilli. The drink’s caramel colour adds to its appeal.
In Japan, pickled ginger is eaten as a palate cleanser between multiple courses of food. It is served with sushi at all Japanese restaurants. Within India, ginger is pickled differently: the ginger is cut into strips and preserved in a solution of salt and lemon juice.