Ginger is the base for this really aromatic chai tea. Hot, spicy and astringent, it adds a great deal of flavor to every beverage or dish, and the root can keep for weeks chilled in your vegetable drawer. Add it to scallions and garlic to make a flavorful base for any Asian dish, including stir-fries, soups and noodle dishes. Grate it into blended canned tomatoes for a gorgeous sauce to serve with chicken or fish.
Although you can find ginger almost anywhere – from your local deli to the fanciest gourmet food shops – there are a few things you should always look for. Make sure you pick a root with a firm, smooth skin without wrinkles or withered ends. The flesh inside should be crisp and lemony yellow, without any browning. To peel it, you can use a potato peeler or the edge of a spoon, but for this chai recipe there’s no need to peel at all, since you’ll strain the mixture before serving it.
Ginger is not only delicious, but well-known as a folk remedy against motion sickness (especially seasickness) when consumed raw. In addition, ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that can help lessen the pain of arthritis and also has anti-bacterial properties that make it a good match for raw foods, like sushi.
Check out my recipe for Warm Vanilla Chai that I posted last week on SlashFood.