You probably are familiar with ginger as a common Indian staple that is added to food, but do you know of its other health benefits?
Building immunity, relieving from cold and flu and maintaining blood circulation are just some of the benefits that this magical herb has. It is also considered great for improving digestion. No wonder that “adrak wali chai” is our go-to relief for a sore throat!
Apart from your regular tea, here are some other ways to incorporate this herb in your diet.
1. Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup
This is a wonderful, zingy soup for those rainy days. It has the balance of sweet and sour and is also quick to whip up.
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 sliced onions
- 1½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- 2 large peeled and diced sweet potatoes
- 6 cups water or stock
- 150ml fresh cream
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the onions until they soften.
- Add the ginger and cook until aromatic. Add the potato and stir till it becomes slightly shiny.
- Add the stock or water. Cook for 30 minutes, or until you can mash the potatoes easily against the side of the pan.
- Using a hand-held blender, stir in the pan until you get a nice smooth consistency.
- Pour in the cream, soy sauce and maple syrup and the lime juice. Stir and then season to taste. Serve hot.
2. Salad With Ginger Lemon Dressing
With all the tempting fried munchies you consume during the monsoons, strike a balance in your diet with this zesty lemon and ginger based salad.
- Lemon Ginger Dressing (makes 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2-inch fresh ginger knob
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp. honey
• 4 cups shredded cabbage (green and purple)
• 1 large carrot (shredded)
• Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
• 1/2 avocado (sliced)
• 2 tbsp. raisins
- Prepare the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more ginger if desired.
- Toss together the cabbage, carrots, and parsley in a large bowl and top with the sliced avocado and raisins.
- Top the salad with 4 – 5 tablespoons of the lemon-ginger dressing and mix well. Let it marinate for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
3. Pickled Ginger
Often put in Vietnamese sandwiches, this delicacy is a perfect complement to fish or meat dishes. This sharp condiment has a sweet and sour taste and has a vibrant yellow colour.
- 250g fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 1½ tbsp. rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sugar
- Wash and peel the fresh ginger and slice into thin strips.
- Cover the ginger with boiling water and put 1 tbsp of salt. Let it sit for around 3-5 minutes until the ginger softens. Be careful not to make it too soft though, the ginger should still be crunchy when you strain the hot brine.
- Retain the hot brine and place the sliced ginger in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle over rest of the salt. Squeeze the ginger with your hand so the salt is absorbed.
- Add the vinegar to the ginger and rub well. Add sugar.
- Put the ginger into jars and submerge it in the reserved brine. Leave it in the fridge overnight. Enjoy! (PS: The pickle will be edible for days if refrigerated.)
4. Ginger Hot Chocolate
Who doesn’t love a warm cup of hot chocolate especially in this ongoing monsoon season! But what if we told you that you can make that cup a little healthier by adding some ginger to it? Don’t worry it will still taste sweet just the way you like it.
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp.sugar
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground or fresh grated ginger (depending on preference)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Heat the milk and water in a saucepan. Once it comes to a simmer, reduce heat, slightly whisking in cocoa powder, sea salt, sugar and ginger. Whisk vigorously.
- In about 3-5 minutes, once the cocoa is hot enough for your liking, remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Stir once more.
- Pour it in a cup and top it with whipped cream or marshmallows – the choice is yours!
5. Ginger Cinnamon Caramels
Wondering how you can turn this spice into something as sweet as a dessert? Let us show you just how! So the next time you are putting in those calories, at least it will be doing something good for your body.
- 2 cups fresh cream
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tsp. Healthy Alternatives- Organic Cinnamon Powder
- 4 tsp. ginger extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Line a 9×13 baking sheet with foil and butter generously. Put the cream in a small saucepan and let it warm over low heat.
- Put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat and stir vigorously until the sugar melts and dissolves. After you stop stirring, turn the heat to high. Cook until the sugar turns dark amber. Take it off the heat.
- Whisk in the butter. Very carefully pour in the cream and whisk it. The caramel will bubble up furiously and steam. Whisk until well-combined and return to high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring, then turn the heat to medium-low. Clip on the candy thermometer and let the caramel cook until the temperature hits 250°F. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the ginger extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan and let it cool.
- When it has cooled for a couple hours, put it in the fridge to harden overnight. The next day, cut into small pieces and wrap. These are fine at room temperature. There, you have yourself some home-made caramels!
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