Delicious Ginger and It’s Key Health-Giving Benefits

Ginger is a spice that we’ve all come to know and love and fortunately, fresh ginger is now available in the produce section of all mainstream supermarkets. (NOT the case, when I first started writing about Chinese cooking about 40 years ago). It has been used by the Chinese and Indians for its hot, vibrant flavour and curative properties to warm the body dispelling chills, aiding digestion, and potent aphrodisiac for centuries.
When looking for ginger:

· Choose fat, smooth knobs that are not withered and are fresh-looking. The more withered and mature ginger is, the more fibrous (difficult to cut) and pungent it will be.
· If you use ginger, infrequently, store it on a counter in a pot of sand or soil. It will keep indefinitely. Otherwise, keep it in a cool, dry place, where you store your garlic.

Ginger is widely known for its therapeutic properties.
Key Benefits:
· Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating and is even more effective than Dramamine.

· Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds which explains why it provides reductions in pain levels and improvements in their when people suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis consume ginger regularly.

· Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections.

· Chewing on a fresh piece of ginger relieves a sore throat, and hoarseness.

Ginger Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bon Bons

12-13 bon bons

1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 four-ounce bars of dark chocolate with at least 56 % cocoa content*
¼ cup candied ginger, chopped finely
2 to 4 10-inch bamboo skewers

1. Line a 7- or 8-inch cake pan with waxed paper and chill in the freezer on a level surface. Fill a glass with some cold water. Microwave the ice cream for 10 seconds and, using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a melon baller, shape the ice cream into balls, dipping the scoop in the cold water between each ball. Arrange the ice cream on the chilled pan lined with wax paper and freeze until firm, about 35 minutes.
2. Smash one of the chocolate bars on a hard surface, breaking it into small pieces. Put it in a pan over boiling water to melt. Add half the chopped candied ginger and mix thoroughly.
3. Grasping a bamboo skewer in each hand, pick up a frozen ice cream ball and dip in the chocolate. Turn it with the skewer to coat the ball and arrange back on the waxed paper. Coat half of the balls and place them back in the freezer. Clean out the bowl and repeat the process with the other chocolate bar, remaining ginger, and ice cream balls. Freeze until firm, covered with plastic wrap.

*Ghiradelli, Valrona, and Callebaut are the best coating chocolates, which are easy to use and have less tendency to seize when reheated.

Chinese Meat Dumplings

Makes about 50 dumplings

5 cups cored and finely minced Chinese (Napa) cabbage

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound lean ground pork

2 cups finely minced fresh Chinese garlic chives (if unavailable, substitute 1 cup minced leeks – mostly the whites – plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Seasonings, mixed together:

2½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1½ tablespoons rice wine

1½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch, or more as needed

To Form, Cook, and Serve the Dumplings:

50 dumpling or gyoza skins

Cornstarch as needed

3 quarts water

Dipping sauce

1.  In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and salt and let sit for 30 minutes.  (This will draw water out of the cabbage).

2.  Squeeze as much water as possible out of the cabbage and combine the cabbage with the ground pork, minced chives, and seasonings in large bowl.  Stir vigorously.  If the mixture seems loose, add another teaspoon of cornstarch.

3.  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each dumpling skin and fold the skin over to make a half-moon shape.  Spread a little water along the edge of the skin and use the thumb and index finger of one hand to form small pleats along the outside edge of the skin; the inside edge of the dumpling should curve in a semicircular fashion to conform to the shape of the pleated edge.  Place the sealed dumplings on a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornstarch.

4.  In a large pot, heat the water until boiling.  Add half the dumplings, stirring to prevent them from sticking together, and, once the water boils again, cook for 5 minutes.  Remove with a handled strainer and drain, then cook the remaining dumplings.  Serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

¾ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons peeled and finely shredded fresh ginger

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

2.  Transfer to a serving dish and use at room temperature.  Refrigerated, the sauce will keep in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008


Gingery Faux Won Ton Soup with Bow Tie Pasta

6 to 8 Servings


1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound)

1 pound lean ground pork


3½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

4 tablespoons chopped scallions, white part only

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

1 egg, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

1½ tablespoons chopped garlic

6 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium

1½ cups bow tie pasta (farfalle)

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut off the root end and discard several inches of the thick stalk end of the Swiss chard. Trim and discard any wilted leaves. Cut the remaining stalk and leaves crosswise into thin ribbons, about ½-inch wide, separating the stalk from the leafy sections.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ground pork and the seasonings, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a stiff paste. Using your hands and a serving spoon, scoop out a generous tablespoon of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball, dipping the spoon into a cup of water to prevent it from sticking. Place the meatballs on a sheet of wax paper and repeat with the remaining mixture to make 20 meatballs.

3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot until hot, about 10 seconds.

Add the garlic and the stalk sections of the Swiss chard and stir-fry

over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock,

partially cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add

the meatballs and pasta, and cook the soup for about 10 to 12 minutes,

or until the pasta is almost tender. Add the green sections of the chard, partially cover, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, skimming the surface of the soup to remove any scum. Add the salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve immediately.


The Healthy Eating Plate

With the beginning of every new year comes resolutions and inevitably, vows to “eat better” or lose weight so we thought we would go to the BEST POSSIBLE source for advice: Nutrition guru, Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health and author of the best-selling “Eat Drink and Be Merry” .

Walter not only gave us some great tips, he introduced the newly-released “ HSPH Healthy Eating Plate”, a VAST improvement of the USDA Plate, which according to Walter, has some SERIOUS flaws. The HSPH Eating Plate is much more explicit and defines the best foods that correspond to each portion of the plate. It also corrects “errors” of the USDA Plate (Once again, as with the USDA Pyramid, concessions were to the dairy industry and other mega, agri-business conglomerates.)

BTW, we also illustrated the HSPH Healthy Eating Plate with brand, new easy and delicious recipes from my new book, Simple Asian Meals. Walter gave his thumb’s up on the dishes so here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, and pleasurable- eating new year!

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.