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Using Ginger – To Peel or Not to Peel – Advice From The Curry Guy

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Peeled ginger and whole ginger

To peel or not to peel

Peeling ginger just isn’t necessary.

Peeling ginger can add a lot of time to food preparation.

So many people think you need to peel your ginger before using it. This is down to most recipes asking for peeled and chopped or sliced ginger. The process is, however, completely unnecessary. In fact, leaving the peel on your ginger is better for you and makes the dish taste better. Peeling ginger is done purely for cosmetic reasons.

I am going to offer you advice here that will make your curries better. Most Indian curries ask for ginger so taking this advice will make your cooking experience easier and your food even more delicious. This advice applies to any recipe asking for ginger.

Purchasing Ginger

Look for ginger root that is hard with a very tight skin. If it is turning soft and the skin is beginning to wrinkle slightly it is past its prime. The ginger will be stringy and the fantastic crisp, sharp flavour of young ginger will be missing.

Using Ginger

Most curry recipes ask for one or two inches of ginger root sliced or finely chopped. Anyone new to cooking may wonder what this means – ginger root is imperfect in shape with large fat pieces and narrow ends. An inch of narrow ginger root will not be the same as an inch from a fat piece of ginger.

Taste some ginger! Cut a few pieces and bite into them. Do you like it? If you do, use a nice fat three inch piece. If you aren’t crazy about the flavour, use a smaller piece. Good Indian chefs don’t work from recipes. They work from experience. They know what they like and they throw it in without measures. The more you cook the easier this will become for you.

History of Ginger

Did you know that ginger is one of the first spices ever used by man! We know this because it has been used for so long that it has lost its ability to reproduce which indicates that it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Over the years it has been used for medical puposes as well. It is packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin C which helps strengthen the immune system. It is said to have a warming effect and aids in digestion and as a mild laxitive.

Ginger is used all around the world in cooking. It is used in dishes from all over India.

And if You Must – Peeling Ginger

Some people just like the look of peeled ginger. I have to admit it looks better if you are pickling it or using it in an Indian chutney. If peeling ginger is necessary, use a spoon. It works much better than any potato peeler or knife!

I hope this has been some help. Just in case you are wondering, if a recipe asks for an inch of ginger, I use one huge chunk! That is how I do all of my cooking. In fact I am currently working on an Indian cookery book without measures. Be sure to let me know if you want to be informed when it is finished or if you want to tell me I’m wrong about peeling ginger!

Colin Banks

Thursday 28th of May 2015

reading your article before embarking on a base carry/ balti sauce & pre cooked chicken evening. Saw UNPEELED ginger in a recipe and wondered why they stipulated unpeeled. I thought maybe I have been peeling away flavour or something. Regards Colin

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