I know my next post was meant to be on pies, and I seem to be forgetting my initial recipe book mission (I haven’t, but some other things are more pressing!) but my sister and I did a little project on ginger recently. Without publishing the whole article, which went to a magazine that unfortunately brings to mind a song about video killing the radio star… I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what Hayley’s camera clicking digit is capable of! Well, as best as I can anyway in a tiny space.
And, a little bit about ginger…
I didn’t mind working at woollies as a teenager because I could waver boredom by sniffing herbs and spices as I whizzed them onto the scales. Whether a delicious morsel of pickled ginger with a fresh piece of sashimi, dumplings with ginger and black vinegar in China Town or a piece of fruit cake slathered with butter, ginger is a universal flavour backbone. Ironically, as perhaps the youngest of the colonies, Australia has become one of the world’s leading stars in ginger production with almost all of the crop hailing from near Buderim in Queensland. I quite like the revolting facts like its properties working wonders to disguise the flavour of rotten meat. Watch out house guests!
My love of ginger started at Mullion Creek, when I tasted the cloudy zing of alcoholic ginger beer from a brew my uncle made. I must have been young, because I was warned not to try it… Tasting it was naughty and perhaps my first introduction to ginger in its most head spinning form. More recently in India, a samosa, scooped straight from the hot oil of a street cart was thrown to me in a piece of newspaper. Behind the bubbling oil an old man pounded potatoes, ginger, spices and chillies onto a giant stone polished with years of samosa-filling-pounding and fragrant with spices. For an Indian, these spices might have been like chops and mashed potato, but to me they were eye-poppingly amazing. Biting into the giant samosa dripping with sweet tamarind sauce, a filling of fluffy potato and a distinct hit of ginger, I realised this was perhaps why I visited India, for one messy bite. I would soon become the only Westerner to actually gain weight in India and get sick not from food, but from eating too many samosas then riding on a camel.
Here are the recipes we decided to cook on that lovely sisterly day. Clever wee Hayley gave me a serving for my last blog’s lack of photos, so here – feast your eyes.
Indian Masala Chai
Masala Chai blend:
50g each (or equal quantities of)
50g Green cardamom pods
50g Black pepper
50g Mace (nutmeg flower)
50g Freshly grated ginger
5 whole cloves
1 cup water
1 dessert spoon Masala Chai blend
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons black tea
3 cups milk
1. For Masala Chai tea blend, combine spices and grind in a spices grinder or pound well with a mortar and pestle. (Blend can be stored in an air tight container for a few months).
2. To make tea, pour water into a large saucepan and bring to the simmer.
3. Add Masala Chai, sugar and black tea and return to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour in milk and bring to the boil. When boiling, take off stove top. Return to the boil and boil up and down five times.
5. Remove from heat filter into a cup or pot. Serve in little cups and sweeten with honey if desired.
Sweet potato, parsnip and ginger soup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
700g sweet potato, cubed
300g parsnips, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like your food spicy)
1L chicken stock
1 ½ cups coconut milk
salt and pepper
cashews for garnishing (optional)
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat then add potatoes, parsnip and onion until vegetables start to brown.
- Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar and garlic and cook for a further ten minutes or until they begin to caramelise.
- Add spices and stir until fragrant. Increase heat to high, pour in stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are soft. Add coconut milk and turn off heat when hot.
- Allow to cool a little then puree until smooth. Garnish with cashews.
1kg pork mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
Rind of one lemon
1 long red chilli, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint (plus extra for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1.5 teaspoon garam masala
1.5 teaspoon turmeric
1x 800g tin of tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1. For the koftas, preheat oven to 180°C and grease a large baking dish.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and shape into small balls. Place koftas in baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. For the sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic and ginger until golden. Add spices and stir until fragrant.
4. Add tomatoes and combine well then gently place koftas in sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with rice and yoghurt and sprinkle with herbs and lemon juice.
Caramel, Ginger and Lime Dumplings
1 ¼ cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons lime zest, finely grated
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
juice of half a lime
3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- To make the dumplings, mix together the dry ingredients. Rub in butter until the consistency of breadcrumbs and add milk and vanilla. Roll into small balls.
- To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir to combine and bring to the boil over medium heat.
- Drop dumplings into the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, checking that the heat isn’t too high (caramel burns easily!).
- Dumplings should be soft and fluffy and cooked through the middle when broken apart.
- Serve with ice cream or cream.