Basic Chinese Pantry. Ginger and Mange-tout


Mange-tout_2cBy the article "Basic Chinese Pantry. Bean Curd" we began a series of articles about Chinese Pantry. Here is the next text on this topic. It's about such products as Ginger (it is as ancient, traditional and essential in Cantonese cooking, as the wok) and Mange-tout (familiar vegetable that combines a tender crisp texture and a sweet fresh flavour and cooks quickly).



Fresh root ginger (actually a rhizome, not a root) in traditional Cantonese cooking is as ancient, traditional and essential as the wok. It is said that ginger from Canton is the most aromatic. Like garlic it is an indispensable ingredient of Chinese cookery. Its pungent, spicy and fresh taste adds a subtle but distinctive flavour to soups, meats, fish, sauces and vegetables. Ripe ginger is golden-beige in colour with a Ginger_cthin dry skin which is usually peeled before the ginger is used. It varies in size from small pieces to large knobbly hands'. Older shrivelled ginger is used for medicinal broths. Fresh ginger can now be found at many supermarkets and most Chinese grocers' shops. Look for 'roots' which are firm, solid and unmarked, with no signs of shrivelling. If wrapped in cling film, they will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Peeled ginger stored in a glass jar and covered in rice wine or dry sherry will last for several months. This has the added benefit of producing a flavoured wine that can be used in cooking. Young ginger sometimes makes its appearance in Chinese grocers' shops. It is hard to find but well worth the search. Knobbly in shape and pink in colour, looking rather unformed, it is the newest spring growth of the plant. Young ginger is usually stir-fried as part of a recipe; in China it is commonly pickled. Because it is young and tender it does not need peeling and can be eaten as a vegetable. A popular way to eat pickled young ginger is with preserved 'thousand-year-old' duck eggs as a snack; it is also often served as an hors d'oeuvre.


Mange-tout_cThis familiar vegetable combines a tender crisp texture and a sweet fresh flavour and cooks quickly. It is perhaps best when simply stir-fried with a little oil and salt and pieces of garlic and ginger. Frequently mange-tout are combined with meats. They are readily available from supermarkets and many greengrocers. Look for pods that are firm with very small peas, which means they are tender and young. They keep for at least a week loosely wrapped, in the salad compartment of the refrigerator.

Read also:

Basic Chinese Pantry. Black Beans and Chinese White Cabbage

Basic Chinese Pantry. Bean Curd

Basic Chinese Pantry. Chillies

Basic Chinese Pantry. Coconut Milk and Coriander, Chinese Parsley or Cilantro

Basic Chinese Pantry. Five-spice Powder and Garlic

Basic Chinese Pantry. Cornflour and Curry Paste

Basic Chinese Pantry. Chinese Dried Mushrooms

Basic Chinese Pantry. Noodles/Pasta

Basic Chinese Pantry. Oils

Basic Chinese Pantry. Oyster Sauce and Rice

Basic Chinese Pantry. Chinese Rice Wine and Thick Sauces and Pastes

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