We’re delighted to be able to share with you this excerpt of an article from Wellbeing, the fabulous new magazine from lifestyle expert Liz Earle.
Not just a spicy addition to your favourite meal, Liz Earle explores the myriad of health benefits that ginger can provide. Having gone back to her writing and editing roots, Liz has combined her interest in natural food, health and beauty to create a new print and digital magazine titled Liz Earle Wellbeing. The Wellbeing autumn issue is jam packed with delightfully healthy recipes that will help you breeze through this autumn in top shape!
With its fragrant, spicy flavour and innumerable health benefits, ginger root (Zingiber officinale) has long been valued for its culinary and medicinal properties. The rhizome or root of the ginger plant, belonging to the Zingiberacea family, gets its name from a Sanskrit word ‘singabera’, meaning horn or antler.
Native to India and China, it has been revered for thousands of years as a holistic remedy and is even considered a gift from God in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurveda medicine. Confucius, the great Chinese explorer (552–479bc), is said to have kept a dish of ginger by him while he ate. More recent research has confirmed ginger’s traditional status as a botanical remedy, with research showing it to have therapeutic and anti-oxidising properties. It contains chromium, magnesium and zinc – all key ingredients in improving circulation. It has also been shown to help bolster the immune system and aid digestive problems, especially travel and morning sickness. In addition it is thought to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and is often used to help soothe muscle ache and painful joints.
And that’s not all! Ginger is also a delicious and versatile cooking ingredient – adding a hot, aromatic depth to many dishes. At the heart of Asian cuisine, it has also been a favourite flavour in Western kitchens since the ancient Romans brought it over to Europe over 2000 years ago. Here are our five favourite ginger recipes to help you make the most of this fresh, flavoursome super-root.
GINGER HONEY DRESSING
2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 2 limes, juice; 2 tsp honey; 70ml rapeseed oil; 4 spring onions, finely chopped; salt & pepper
Blend together the first five ingredients and season well. Stir in the spring onions and use to dress soba noodles. Great with grilled marinated salmon or steak.
TOMATO, GINGER AND CORIANDER SAUCE
2 tbsp rapeseed oil; 4 large shallots, finely chopped; 4cm piece ginger, peeled and grated; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; pinch of cayenne; pinch of ground turmeric; seeds from 3 cardamom pods, crushed; 300g tomatoes, peeled and chopped; 1 tsp tomato purée; 1 tsp balsamic vinegar; 25g butter; 2 tbsp coriander, chopped; salt & pepper
Place the first 7 ingredients in a large shallow pan and cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes, without browning. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for another 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the vinegar and the butter, mix well and stir through the chopped coriander. Season well.
ASIAN GINGER BROTH Serves 4
1 tbsp coconut oil; 5 small shallots, finely sliced; 1 small red chilli, finely sliced; 3–4 cloves garlic, crushed; 8cm piece ginger, peeled and grated; 2 sticks of lemon grass, chopped and crushed; 1l vegetable stock; 1 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce); 2 limes, juice; 6 pak choi; 200g tofu; 2–3 spring onions; fresh coriander; salt & pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a large deep pan and sauté the shallots for a few minutes until they start to soften, then add the chilli, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook for a further few minutes before adding in the stock (if you can make your own, all the better, but a vegetable stock cube dissolved in a litre of water is fine). Leave to simmer for 20 minutes, adding the fish sauce/soy sauce (or both) and lime juice to taste, as well as salt and pepper. Roughly chop the pak choi, cut the tofu into small cubes, and add just before serving with thinly sliced spring onions and coriander.
AUTUMN SLAW SALAD Serves 4-6
5 medium raw beetroots; 3 apples; 1 red onion; raisins, large handful; 150g goat’s cheese; 4cm piece ginger, peeled and grated; 1 lemon, juice; olive oil, generous glug; 100g pine nuts; fresh parsley, roughly chopped; cracked black pepper & sea salt
Wash and scrub the beetroots, core the apple (or chop around it) and finely chop both into thin matchstick-size pieces. Dice the red onion finely and place in a large bowl with the beetroot, apple and raisins. Crumble the goat’s cheese into the salad, with the ginger. Mix well. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add the olive oil. Season with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Dry toast your pine nuts in a pan on a medium heat for a few minutes until they turn golden and scatter over the salad with the parsley.
RAW NUTTY GINGER ENERGY BALLS Makes around 20–25 balls
300g almonds; 150g cashew nuts; 6 Medjool dates, de-pitted; 1 tsp coconut oil; pinch of salt; 10cm piece ginger, peeled; 50g almonds, to roll balls in (optional); salt
If you can, soak the nuts in water (8–12 hours for almonds, 2–4 hours for cashews). This is recommended but not essential. Drain and dry the nuts and reserve 50g almonds. Place the rest in a food processor or high-powered blender with the dates, coconut oil and salt to taste. Chop the ginger into manageable chunks and add to the mixture – add more if you like a bit of heat. Blend until it’s nearly smooth, but still has a few crunchy bits. Scoop out of the food processor and roll into small balls. For extra crunch, toast the remaining 50g almonds in an oven at 200°C /400°F/Gas Mark 6 for around 5 minutes. Lay them out on half of a tea towel, folding the other half over them. With a rolling pin (or anything else suitable) crush the almonds. Roll the ginger balls in the crushed almonds.
The autumn 2015 edition of the Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine is available now from www.lizearlewellbeing.com. Subscribe to the digital edition for £10 or the printed edition for £19.96 per year for 4 issues, p+p free.