If you have ever tried your traditional ‘adrak ki chai’, you know how beautiful ginger can be. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and as a remedy since ancient times. It is amongst one of the first spices to have been exported from Asia and was widely used by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Taste and appearance
There is no flavour like ginger in the world. It is zesty, spicy, pungent yet sweet and pairs really well with a lot of different kinds of ingredients like chicken, vegetables, chocolates etc. The overall mild flavour adds incredible depth to any dish and creates an absolutely enticing aroma.
As far as appearances go, part of the plant which we mostly use is the root. It is beige in colour with a knotted and rough look and woody kind of texture. The inside flesh is fibery and mostly pale yellow coloured.
Most people peel off the outer brown skin and use the flesh inside for consumption purposes.
Health and Nutritional benefits
Along with food, Ginger is a key ingredient in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and is a very common name in most home remedies which are lovingly called “dadima ke nuskhe”.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia and is an ideal ingredient used to aid digestion. It helps boost overall immunity and is very effective in treating respiratory related illnesses such as a cough.
The root is also used to combat nausea and has even proved to be helpful in fighting some types of cancer.
Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria. It is also an effective ingredient in maintaining and treating oral health.
India and Ginger
Ginger has been widely used in the country since old times; it’s consumption is spread amongst all regions of the Nation. A ground paste of Ginger and Garlic holds a permanent position in most Indian households and is added to many curries and dishes along with a few other common spices.
Fresh, as well as dried, ginger is used to spice tea and coffee, especially in winter. The aroma and spiciness of ginger makes for extremely flavourful vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Ask any Indian cook, their go to recipe will always contain Ginger!
Ginger around the World
Ginger is one of the most widely used cooking ingredients which is used in many cultures around the world. In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shōga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles
In Burma, ginger is called gyin and is widely used in traditional dishes and medicines. In fact, most Asian countries use ginger as a spice in some form or the other. Fresh sliced ginger is used as a garnish in many cuisines. Along with being used in traditional cooking around the globe, ginger has become an essential ingredient in a lot of modern fusion dishes as well.
In the western countries, candied ginger and ginger ale are very popular. Gingerbread cookies are a Christmas time must have; and ginger tea has gained a cult following of sorts!
Every country has their own unique way of using this versatile ingredient and this reflects in the beauty of their tastes.
For that pesky cough
Mix a bit of fresh ginger juice with a pinch of turmeric in a tablespoon of honey and consume immediately. Doing this two to three times a day can be very beneficial for healing many respiratory diseases.
Consuming ginger daily in some form or the other is a good habit to keep for ginger is the perfect blend of health and taste!
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