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How to Buy, Store and Prepare Ginger for Cooking

Fresh ginger rootKnobbly and light brown, ginger root is used widely in Chinese food for its sharp, peppery, spicy, slightly sweet flavor and is especially good with fish as a "de-fisher". Ginger, when used in cooking is sliced into 1/16 inch slices. The slices are usually not eaten. When used for dipping together with vinegar, it is in fine shreds or fine dots and as much of it as will stick to the dipping piece will be eaten. Fresh ginger is peeled before using. The younger, less pungent ginger is best used in stir fried or steamed dishes while the harsher peppery mature ginger is good for braised dishes. It can be obtained from many supermarkets and Asian markets and is best kept in the refrigerator vegetable compartment, tightly wrapped in a paper towel placed inside a plastic bag.

1) Cut off a piece of ginger to the length desired, then peel it using the back end of a knife or peeler. You can also use a spoon to easily scrap the skin. 

2) Slice the ginger along the length into 1/16 inch thick slices

3) Turn these slices so that they are stacked up on each other. Slice them again along the length into 1/16 inch matchsticks. This is called cutting in julienne.

4) Hold all of these sticks together and cut them into tiny cubes of ginger. This method of cutting is called brunoise.

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See also: Medicinal Properties of Ginger

Ginger is a very commonly used herb in Chinese cooking. It is used as food and medicine. Both fresh and dried ginger is used as medicine. Dried ginger, however, is more potent than the fresh one. The medicinal properties of ginger differ on how it’s prepared. A ‘Yang’ ingredient, fresh ginger is used to expel external cold and promote sweating. It is also used to reduce or remove toxicity in herbs and food, for example it relieves fish and crab allergies. Dried ginger has a stronger action and is used to expel interior cold and restores exhausted ‘Yang’. Roasted ginger is either fried or roasted until is black. It has a bitter taste and is used to stop bleeding. Read more>>

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.