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Chinese Ingredients - Just Like Blighty
Ginger
Ginger is a central ingredient to virtually all Cantonese cuisine. It is virtually identical to that bought in UK, but is always far fresher and has a lot more taste.

When purchasing, look for ones that are firm and are quite brightly yellow in colour, as in the picture right. This is what I call 'wet ginger' because it is fresh. As ginger dries so the outside changes colour and the actual ginger then starts to loose internal liquid. This is what we usually get in UK, which Chinese would throw away as being old and past-it!

Ginger is the tuber of a lily like plant that grows several feet in height. It grows wild in Guangdong and could be considered a slightly invasive weed if left unchecked. There is also a flowering version that produces heavily scented white flowers. The tuber of this genus are never used in cookery.
Image: Chinese Ginger - Click to Enlarge
Chinese Cookery

There are two main ways ginger is prepared for cooking in Cantonese cuisine:

1. Wash the ginger and slice it crosswise so you end up with disks of an eighth to a quarter of an inch deep. These include the skin. These are then added to soups, hot pot, and other robust dishes - and eaten if you like.

2. The second method uses peeled ginger, which is then very finely diced. This is usually one of the first ingredients into the wok, along with a little oil and garlic. Cantonese chef's never crush ginger, except for use as a marinade (see Spare Ribs). When used as such, it is still chopped as above, and then squeezed tightly in the hand with the juice being saved.

You will often find this style of chopped ginger served alone or with other ingredients as an extra. For instance, sik juk (Chinese rice porridge) would have a small dish of chopped ginger, spring onions (Scallions), and a few chopped coriander leaves all served in soy sauce. Top Hole!

Sweet shops will also sell many types of candied ginger, but these are never made at home.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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