Ginger is a wonderfully versatile ingredient with loads of tasty sweet and savoury culinary uses in the kitchen. Whether you have fresh ginger, ground ginger, stem ginger or even ginger beer, you’ll find an option in this list of 8 Things to Do with Ginger!
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As a lifelong cinnamon dodger, ginger is one of my favourite alternative flavours. But I don’t just stick to ginger cakes and bakes.
I love to use it in lots of different dishes, sometimes as a background note and sometimes as a main flavour. So I’ve created this list of some of my favourite ginger recipes to tickle your taste buds and maybe introduce you to some new uses.
Types of Ginger
Ginger is a root which is from the same horticultural family as turmeric, cardamom and galangal. It is used as a culinary spice and can be quite fiery in flavour.
I keep various types of ginger in my pantry as they all have slightly different uses. These are my favourite types.
Fresh Ginger Paste
This is largely what I use in my savoury recipes. There are three main reasons why I generally refer to “ginger paste” in my recipes rather than fresh root ginger.
How many times have you seen a recipe call for a “1 inch piece of ginger” or “a thumb size piece of ginger”? And then looked at the gnarly piece of ginger in your hand and wondered what the hell that actually means? I certainly have! There is almost no way of ensuring that the amount of ginger you end up with is the same as what the recipe writer intended.
So if you use a fine grater (I always recommend a Microplane grater) you can then measure the paste you create with your handy measuring spoons. And bingo, you are going to be much closer to the amount of ginger needed for the recipe.
The next reason is that I buy ginger paste in a jar. I basically find it a much more manageable way to minimise food waste. And I don’t dirty my beloved grater.
And lastly, I like ginger to be finely grated into a paste because it disperses much more easily throughout whatever you are cooking. No one really wants to chow down on a chunk of ginger.
All of these reasons are exactly the same as why I refer to “garlic paste” in my recipes too. For loads of garlic ideas, check out my collection of 26 Best Garlic Recipes.
Ginger power is dried ginger root which is simply ground into a powder. It can be bought in almost any store.
I prefer to buy the large bags found in Asian supermarkets or the world food aisle at the supermarket. These provide much better value than the small bottles in the usual spice aisles.
Like all ground spices, ginger will lose some flavour as it ages. But it will really have to try to go totally tasteless – we’re talking many years. Just make sure to store it in a airtight container as moisture is its natural enemy.
Stem ginger is fresh ginger root that has been boiled in a sugar syrup until soft all the way through. The sugar permeates the ginger to make a sweet and spicy treat. It is usually packed and sold in jars with the cooking syrup around it. It lasts for a long time and is a perfect pantry staple.
Don’t forget the syrup from the stem ginger jar! It can be used as a ingredient in its own right as well as an additional ingredient to the ginger balls themselves.
Crystallised or Candied Ginger
Don’t confuse these with stem ginger as they are a slightly different product. Crystallised ginger is cooked in a similar way but the ginger chunks are removed from the sugar syrup and rolled in sugar. So the overall product is dryer.
It can be substituted for stem ginger in many recipes but ultimately it is firmer in texture and a little more difficult to deal with. Plus you miss out on the bonus syrup.
Ginger beer in its own right is not alcoholic, despite the name. It is simply a carbonated drink with a prominent spicy ginger flavour. Nowadays you can buy boozy versions too and these tend to be referred to as “Alcoholic Ginger Beer”.
Even if you don’t want to boil a ham in ginger beer, do try it just as a drink! It is especially delicious with a nip of rum and a little fresh lime.
Savoury Ginger Recipes
Many of my go-to savoury ginger recipes are of an Asian persuasion. I use a dab in my Sticky Rice, almost always add some to my Crab Uramaki and use it for an extra tang in my Steamed Chinese Dumplings.
These are 4 of my favourite recipes where ginger is front and centre as a flavour.
Sweet Ginger Recipes
As often as I reach for the fresh ginger paste in my savoury recipes, I’m reaching for the ground or stem ginger to whip up a sweet treat. I make a batch of my ginger cookies at least twice a month. They’re a perennial favourite with friends and family too.
And you’ll probably be able to tell that I’m a bit obsessed by the combination of peach and ginger. I use stem ginger in both my boozy peach compote and crumble recipe.
I especially love it when ginger is almost spicy in flavour. And I quite often throw a little extra in just to really make my taste buds sing!
So now you know my favourite ginger recipes, hit the comments and tell me yours!
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