Ginger, Galangal, and Turmeric
Did you know that you can find fresh ginger, galangal, and turmeric at the Market? Our friends at Denison Farms grow all three roots, and you can find these exotic ingredients at the market.
Galangal – closely related to ginger it is a highly aromatic and spicy herb endemic to Thailand, Vietnam and Southeast China. Today it is cultivated in many countries including Southeast Asia, Malaysia and India. It is an integral part of many Thai curry pastes. Galangal can be used interchangeably with ginger, however they each have their own distinct taste. When you can find fresh galangal, it is always preferable to use the real thing. Turmeric – also a member of the ginger family, is indigenous to India, where its usage can be traced back 4000 years. It is one of the foundational spices in many curry blends and is the ingredient responsible for the bright yellow color in many Indian and Southeast Asian dishes. Most people know the dried form of turmeric, but the vibrant, peppery taste and a bright yellow color of fresh turmeric puts the dried form to shame. Both galangal and turmeric are believed to have healing effects on the body with anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. They are used to treat intestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, hiccups and colic. You may not be interested in the medicinal uses of these roots, but you will most definitely be interested in their culinary uses.
Fortunately for market goers, ginger, galangal and turmeric can all be found at Denison Farms! Asked about their favorite ways to use these exotic roots, Tom’s wife Elizabeth shared a couple of her favorite recipes - "Golden Health Milk" and "Spiced Tamari Seeds". First, take a chunk of ginger, and a similar sized chunk of turmeric, peeled or scraped clean, and blend them in the food processor until they make a (sort of) smooth paste. Elizabeth explains that you can store the prepared paste mixture in the refrigerator where it will remain fresh for weeks. It can also be frozen in an ice cube tray and stored in individual-sized portions in the freezer. Golden Health Milk Warm 12 oz. milk or nut milk in a saucepan with 1 heaping Tbs. ginger/turmeric paste. When warm, add honey to taste (Elizabeth uses about 1/2 tsp.), and serve for a warm, nourishing, good-for-you treat. Spiced Tamari Seeds Start with approximately 1 cup of seeds or nuts—Elizabeth uses a mixture of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, but you can also use almonds, cashews, or sesame seeds. Toast seeds (10 minutes in a frypan over medium heat, or 5-10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. As soon as the seeds are toasted, add 2 Tbs tamari (soy sauce), mixed with 1 Tbs ginger/turmeric paste. Stir and continue to heat just until the seeds are dry. Cool before eating. Tom Yum Veggie Soup Thai soups are plentiful in their many variations and flavors. The base of this soup is lemongrass, galangal root, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, tomato and spices. (Click here for the recipe!) Chili Paste Christopher Kimball’s new Milk Street Magazine, suggests making a variation of Andy Ricker’s (Pok Pok) chili paste by combining 3 oz. of peeled fresh turmeric, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small shallot (roughly chopped), 1 T. light brown sugar and 1 t. kosher salt in a food processor. Process until it becomes a thick paste. Use paste to coat chicken before roasting or braising, or saute it as a base for soups, stews dressings and sauces. * Culinary tip – these roots can be very woody so it is best to peel and grate them for recipes where they will be eaten along with everything else in the dish. If slices of the roots are used, it is best to remove them before serving. Like lemongrass, they can tough and difficult to chew. We've also noticed a few other market vendors using ginger, turmeric, and galangal in their products. MeeMee's Goodies just came out with a new Blackberry Ginger Jam, using Denison's fresh ginger. And Eleni's Kitchen just released a new Turmeric Sauce, which is great for use as a base for mild stews and veggie dishes.