Fresh root ginger (actually a rhizome, not a root) is indispensable in oriental cookery. Its pungent, spicy and fresh taste adds a subtle but distinctive flavour to soups, sauces and vegetables. Fresh ginger looks rather like a gnarled Jerusalem artichoke and can range in size from 7.5 cm (3 in) to 15 cm (6 in) long. It has pale brown, dry skin which is usually peeled away before use. Select fresh ginger which is firm with no signs of shrivelling. It will keep in the fridge, well wrapped in cling film, for up to 2 weeks. Fresh ginger can now be found at many greengrocers and supermarkets, and in most Chinese and oriental grocers. Dried powdered ginger has a quite different flavour and cannot be substituted for fresh ginger.
© 1995 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.