Cultural Flair with Ginger in the Kitchen
Mar 25, 2013 11:46PM
Cultural Flair with Ginger in the Kitchen
by Lindzie St.MartinIf you've ever wanted try adding some cultural twist to your cooking at home, using ginger is a great way to start. Ginger is one of many frequently used spices in Indian cuisine, and if you've ever had any, you'll notice it is often combined with other spices like turmeric, coriander, chili pepper, cardamom, cumin, and/or garlic, creating wonderful flavor and aroma. Sweeter dishes will often include cinnamon, clove, saffron, and nutmeg, just to name a few. The trickiest part of Indian cooking in America can simply be locating some of the ingredients that you may not be familiar with. You can always shop online, unless you happen to have an international market nearby that offers what you're looking for. Whether you want to adventure into very traditional recipes, or just merge these spice concepts with your own popular American dishes, adding some cultural flair to your cooking at home will offer new intrigue to your palate and keep those healthier foods interesting and satisfying.
Chutney is a fantastic way to experiment with using more ginger in your life, and incorporate a fun twist to some of your own favorite recipes. It is in the family of condiments, originating in Indian, and a great way to experiment with ginger while offering a limitless variety of combinations. The texture can resemble salsa, relish, or jelly, and can be served aside any formal meal or a casual snack. It can be made from any blend of fruits or vegetables, paired with herbs and spices, and voila -- you now have a sweet, hot, or savory topping to accompany any meal. Here are a few recipes to try, or just have fun and create your own variations.
Cranberry Ginger Chutney
1 tbsp. coconut oil or pure canola oil 2 ribs celery, finely chopped 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 1 lb. (about 4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries 3/4 cup 100% apple juice ¼ cup honey 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger ¼ tsp. ground allspice 1 tart apple (Granny Smith), cored and finely chopped
*Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat; add celery and onion, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add cranberries, apple juice, honey, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, apple and bring to a boil; cook, stirring until cranberries burst and release their juices, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook about 1 hour, stirring often, until berries are tender and is the consistency of thick jam. (recipe inspired from www.saveur.com)
Apple Ginger Chutney
2 tbsp canola oil or coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 pound green apples, cored and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (6-inch thumb) fresh ginger, peeled then sliced into thin matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
*Warm the canola oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds-they should sizzle upon contact. If they don't, turn the heat up a little. Cook about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions turn golden, about 10 minutes.
Now add cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring vigorously for about 30 seconds. Add the apples, ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper; keep cooking, stirring often, until the juice thickens and caramelizes, and the apples soften, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings and serve. (Recipe inspired from foodnetwork.com by Aarti Sequeira)
Green Chili & Ginger Chutney
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green chili
1/2 cup lime juice OR white vinegar
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp molasses
salt to taste
*Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and place it on the stove. Add about 1/4 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Taste and adjust the honey and salt according to your taste. Let it simmer till it’s thick. Let it cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week without refrigeration and up to a month in the refrigerator.
The original recipe called for 1/2 cup powdered jaggery, which is an unrefined sugar; you can use 1/2 a cup dark brown sugar (or honey) along with two tsp of molasses to resemble the taste. Also, 1 cup thick tamarind pulp; a souring agent that can be found in Asian/Indian markets or online, but you can substitute 1/2 the ratio with lime juice or vinegar. (Recipe inspired from www.lovefoodeat.com)
Chutney is a great way to add healthy flavor to any dish. In most cases, you can create your own simple chutney with some of the flavor inspirations here, or discover your own. Consider using a chutney to accompany rice, quinoa, fish, turkey, or chicken, pork tenderloin or lamb. Create a new healthy condiment for tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. And, replace those overly sugary toppings on desserts with the natural sweetness of fruit. In India, a common breakfast meal called "Dosa", resembling what we know of as crepes, goes well with any chutney (http://chefinyou.com/2010/03/plain-dosa-recipe). Try a naturally sweet, fruity chutney on whole grain pancakes or waffles, and break the habit of sugary syrups from your life. Sweet, savory, or spicy -- Ginger and chutney can be incorporated any way you like.