- Food and Cooking
How To Grate Fresh Ginger Root - Then Try This Quick Chicken Recipe: Ginger Chicken Kebabs
Ginger is one of the world's most important and commonly used spices but its wild origins are not clear. Believed by some to be native to the south of India, ginger was known to the Romans - but it wasn't until the spice routes opened up trade during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that it became familiar on the tables of England.
Nowadays, of course, the pale, knobbly roots of fresh ginger are widely available in supermarkets year-round and should be purchased a small quantity at a time, whenever possible. You will never need a great deal of fresh ginger and it will not keep indefinitely (see Selection and Storage Tips below right and watch the video below).
Selection and Storage Tips
• The age of the ginger when harvested has a distinct bearing on flavor. Young or 'early harvest' ginger has a light, thin, tan-colored skin with pinkish tips, and is juicier, crisper and milder than more mature ginger.
• Ginger that has a late harvesting has thicker and dark-tan skin, with hard, quite fibrous flesh and a far stronger flavor.
• Don't purchase ginger that is soft, shows signs of withering (indicating dryness and old age) or mould.
• Ginger will keep, if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for several weeks.
Fresh ginger is associated with a number of different cuisines - Chinese, Indian and Caribbean, to name but a few - where it is used to add a fragrant spiciness to all sorts of meat, poultry, fish and vegetable dishes.
How To Grate Fresh Ginger Root
Unless you freeze it before use (must try this idea myself!) or have very young ginger, it will be necessary to peel it first - and a small, sharp paring knife is ideal for this.
You will need:
• A chopping board or similar clean work surface
• A grater
• Some fresh ginger root
Now, gripping the grater with one hand and the fresh ginger root with the other over the chopping board or similar, draw the ginger in a rapid upward and downward or backward and forward motion (depending on the type of grater being used) across the finest hole of the surface of the grater. Continue until you have enough grated ginger.
Purpose-made ginger graters, which are generally either wooden or ceramic, can also be purchased from Asian food stores or kitchenware shops.
Porcelain ginger graters (also known as Japanese graters) or bamboo ginger graters are flat graters with a series of small teeth facing both upward and downward so that when ginger is drawn across the surface, it will be finely grated, leaving the coarse, fibrous strands behind. They also help to make grating fresh garlic and fresh turmeric an absolute breeze.
Microplanes have graters with tiny razor-like edges that make quick and easy tasks of both grating and cleaning. You'll find them in all good kitchenware and department stores.
An Innovative Idea - Freezing Ginger
Now that you know how to grate fresh ginger root, you might like to test your new-found skill and try the following chicken recipe. It's very quick to make as it requires very little preparation and cooking time however, you will need to set some extra time aside for marinating the chicken and soaking the bamboo skewers. I usually complete step 1. and soak the skewers the night before I intend to cook it. That way, preparing the next night's dinner becomes a very simple matter indeed.
When prepared to the quantities specified, this dish will comfortably serve 2-3 people but if you need to feed more, just double (or even triple!) the quantity of the ingredients.
Ginger Chicken Kebabs
Soak 6 bamboo skewers in cold water for at least an hour before use to prevent them scorching and splintering.
You will need:
• 10 ounces (300g) chicken breast fillets, chopped coarsely
• 1 tablespoon green ginger wine
• 1 tablespoon salt-reduced soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 teaspoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
• Sliced green onions to serve (optional)
1. Combine chicken and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Cover; refrigerate several hours or overnight.
2. Preheat grill. Thread chicken onto skewers; reserve marinade. Cook under grill, brushing with marinade, until chicken is tender.
3. Serve kebabs sprinkled with sliced green onions, if desired.
Notes: Chicken is best if allowed to marinate overnight. Serve with steamed rice and your choice of mixed steamed vegetables (I usually use broccoli, carrot and beans) and either halved cherry or roma tomatoes.