Where does ginger come from, and how is it used in our cooking?
Ginger comes from Asia where it has been cultivated since ancient times
for its warm flavor and is valued as an aid to digestion. The edible part
is the rhizome, or root, and it may be used either fresh, dried, pickled
In China, India, Japan and Southeast Asia,
fresh ginger is very popular and used for a wide variety of savory dishes
such as soups, curries, marinades, pickles and relishes. Western countries
have used ground ginger for hundreds of years to flavor dishes such as
gingerbread, biscuits and puddings.
To use fresh ginger, first peel the root,
then chop it very finely or grate it on a fine grater. If you only want
the juice and not the ginger itself for flavoring, crush it in a garlic
press. Fresh ginger is used mostly in conjunction with other flavorings
such as garlic, spring onions and chilies, for example in stir-fries. It
also goes well with broccoli, red meat, chicken, noodles, rice and
Steamed Fish with Ginger
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1 x 750 g snapper, cleaned and scaled
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 rasher bacon, diced and cooked until
Wash the snapper, removing any remaining
loose scales. Pat dry with absorbent paper. Place fish on a large
heatproof dish; sprinkle with ginger, sherry and soy. Leave 30 minutes in
Place a round cake-cooking rack in a wok and
balance the dish on it. Carefully pour 6 to 8 cups of boiling water into
the wok. Cover the wok and steam the fish over a rolling boil for 10
Test for doneness by flaking a little flesh
from the thickest part of the fish with a fork. It is ready when it flakes
easily and is milky white. Turn off heat and keep dish covered.
Heat the oils in a small pan until very hot.
Carefully remove fish on its dish from the wok. Sprinkle the spring onion
over the fish, carefully pour on the hot oil. Garnish with nuts and bacon,
if used. Serve at once with stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice.