02 Sep2007


It must be August/September, because there is young ginger in the markets again. I have written about the young ginger before, and I am really drawn to its pungency and flavor, but it isn’t as strong as its older counterparts. In fact, as I read through my blog entries over three years, I am beginning to understand the ebb and flow of produce in the markets, and why, as a natural result, we make certain dishes at particular times of the year, all closely linked to seasonal produce. It is the reason that bayabas (guava) sinigang appears just about now or during the rainy season, when fresh unripe sampaloc is less plentiful. It is also the reason that I unwittingly paired this young ginger before with tons of unripe papaya in acharra that was amongst the finest I have made at home. My favorite use for the young ginger? Used in a steamed bangus with ginger and soy sauce.


I very much want to attempt making those really thin japanese ginger pickles that are served with sushi at Japanese restaurants, but still have to find a decent recipe… Meanwhile, with the young ginger (and unripe papayas) I got at the market yesterday, I made 25+ small bottles of acharra, enough to last until next year or so! We also made a steamed bangus this evening with slivers of young ginger. The market also had some fresh turmeric or yellow ginger (luyang dilaw) root (lower right in photos), which is terrific in Indonesian and Malaysian style soups, curries and stews. Turmeric is often used in a dried form but when you can get it fresh it adds a special dimension to soups, sauces and other dishes. Striking for its intense yellow color (also used for dyes, etc.), which sometimes becomes more orangey in certain dishes, it is extremely common in Indian cooking. I featured another favorite ginger family member, galangal, here. There are over 40 members of the ginger family, but the ones pictured here, along with galangal, are the ones most commonly used in the cooking of Southeast Asia.



  1. elaine says:

    hello MM, I was never aware of the different varieties of ginger till now. I’m familiar with turmeric, though…I like your ‘half’ plate. Another creative shot you got here….:)

    Sep 2, 2007 | 10:14 pm


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  3. bijin says:

    i should be on the look out for fresh tumeric then. there’s an abundance in farmer’s market here in japan if in season. i usually make tea out of it which is what the okinawans do. the tea is quite bitter but supposedly good for you….. have never tried fresh tumeric in cooking though since i usually use it’s powdered form.

    Sep 2, 2007 | 10:34 pm

  4. smiles4angels says:

    steamed bangus with soy and ginger… now this i can do with what the utensils i have. sabay na ko diet MM. good morning. :)

    Sep 3, 2007 | 5:10 am

  5. Mila says:

    Does fresh tumeric turn rice yellow the same way as a dash of dried tumeric?

    Sep 3, 2007 | 8:01 am

  6. annette says:

    Guinataang biya with luyang dilaw and sinangag, and dont forget the purong patis hahaha.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 8:12 am

  7. Apicio says:

    Fresh turmeric can impart a startling day-glow intensity to the colour of bringhe where I think it finds its most exalted use in Filipino cooking. Doreen Fernandez speculated that bringhe is a local adoptation of paella (I think not – radically different cooking method) while Gene Gonzalez traced its provenance even more distant back in time, the biryani of Indian influence brought over on the barangays from even farther South (probably at the same time as puto and bibingka). Memories of Philippine Kitchens has a picture of what seems to me a runny version, the malagkit grains homogenized into a smooth polenta-like poultice.

    Your mandoline can make easy work of slicing ginger into very thin sheets for your gari, a good way of keeping a ready supply that you can quickly chop into threadlike julienne instead of the whole rhyzome that dry out or shrivel with mould.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 8:37 am

  8. bernadette says:

    I found the tumeric’s intense color hard to wash off both my chopping knives and board so I just decided to use the “ordinary” luya. They say the best way to preserve or keep them is to just plant them. They grow quite well in my garden and even has pretty blooms!

    Sep 3, 2007 | 10:56 am

  9. rosa says:

    hi MM! we use powdered turmeric to add flavor and color to our yang chow – –

    i never thought ginger could look that good in pictures!

    Sep 3, 2007 | 11:43 am

  10. DADD-F says:

    Right you are MM. People around the world, traditionally, create dishes out of what’s available during the current season. In Baguio, for instance, the food they find/grow during the colder months do help provide bodily warmth and perhaps, other nutrients that would prove quite more useful for such a season.

    But today’s generation, what with globalization, etc., people hardly notice why certain foods tend to be more readily available at a certain time. And perhaps, why some foods become such a comfort food apart from the emotional connection.

    Anyway, Apicio, what is a mandoline?

    And is there anyone I can connect with when I go to Manila between now and Christmas for an honest-to-goodness patis from Malabon?


    Sep 3, 2007 | 2:39 pm

  11. Apicio says:

    A mandoline is a slicing machine. Marketman used one to finely julienne his zucchini. I do not have one because I am scared silly of machines with sharp blades and pots that hizz although I just recently come to terms with my pressure cooker phobia and acquired one this late in life.

    Sep 3, 2007 | 6:29 pm

  12. DADD-F says:

    Thanks Apicio! In the meantime, will go google to see how it looks like. I now know what a fish pan looks like. Hahaha, ignoramus ano? Now, mandoline naman.

    P.S. I have a pressure cooker. But I haven’t used it yet. Besides, our house is so small that there’s not enough appliance parking space in the kitchen. So most of my things since before I married, including various appliances, are in our stock room. :)

    Sep 3, 2007 | 7:29 pm

  13. Mila says:

    Apicio, I remember an episode of No reservations with A. Bourdain where he admitted to being scared/phobic of pressure cookers. It’s definitely a tool that requires a certain attitude.

    Does that mean you’re not a blender/food processor owner?

    Sep 3, 2007 | 10:11 pm

  14. Apicio says:

    I disposed of my blender shortly after it decorated my kitchen ceiling with hot chocolate thirty years ago. Still find no need for a food processor although I recently acquired a powerful wand blender that whips and emulsifies salad dressings in a hurry and I am picking up a Kitchen Aid hand mixer soon.

    Sep 4, 2007 | 1:46 am

  15. corrine says:

    My kitchen angel planted a piece of turmeric in our backyard. Wow it grew and has big leaves already. Its leaves are also used in Malaysian cuisine. I will plant more! Turmeric has medicinal value and is one of the ingredients in Ampalaya Plus tablets which are sold in leading drugstores.

    Sep 4, 2007 | 9:18 am

  16. CecileJ says:

    And I thought I was the only one with “pressurecook-o-phobia”! That’s why I can’t make my own dulce gatas for fear of causing an explosion!

    Sep 4, 2007 | 10:46 am

  17. dee bee says:

    never seen fresh turmeric before, will keep an eye out next time i go to an asian grocer.

    i, too, try to avoid the mandoline, pero i don’t mind pressure cookers.

    MM, how about a poll on reader’s favourite/least favourite kitchen gadgets?

    Sep 4, 2007 | 2:36 pm

  18. Maria Clara says:

    The unassuming ginger finds its way through Buckingham Palace through gingerbread cakes or cookies which the English are famous for. Christmas across the globe is celebrated with tons of gingerbread cookies dressed up in multicolored icing. The old wife’s tale recommended ginger for every fish dish to get rid of the fishy taste in paksiw, sinigang and escabeche. The young ginger is more tame than its older sibling and gives that pinkish look when pickled that brightens up the sushi plate.

    Sep 5, 2007 | 3:45 am

  19. Marketman says:

    Maria Clara, yes, GINGER is a major spice, and I personally love it in baked goods! deebee and Apicio, they sell mandolines now with a safety “cover” or similar feature. Or alternatively, you can use your mandoline wearing an oven mitt to prevent accidental shredding of your fingers… Apicio, I know it takes up counter space but instead of a Kitchen Aid Hand mixer, get a stand mixer, terrific for ensaimadas, other doughs, etc. Hahaha, I am fearful of pressure cookers as well, but I do boil cans of condensed milk without much fear of explosions… DADD-F, yes, we need to really take note of what is in season, as it usually results in the best dishes… rosa, I never knew turmeric was the reason for the yellowish color of yang chow, but now that others mention it, duhhh, it is the coloring for nasi kuning a Malay dish and our own bringhe… Btw, apicio, I too with disagree with bringhe=paella, I think the nasi kuning of the Malays, a yellow rice shaped like a volcano and served at special occassions or the Indian link is much more likely… Mila, I am not sure if fresh turmeric works just as well as the powdered with respect to color, but it probably does… elaine, I figured the half plate was like digging up the ginger and coming across a 15th century blue and white in the vegetable garden… :)

    Sep 5, 2007 | 7:56 am

  20. Don Dabao says:

    I would like to buy luyang dilaw. My doctor says its good in detoxifying the liver. Where can i find this in the philippines. Im from paranaque? Thanks for your usual supprt guys

    Jan 3, 2008 | 9:55 am

  21. aida says:

    May i know where i could find ginger for planting purposes around north of manila? Could i have a telephone number those selling a ginger? If you have know someone selling you can email me at ipiggoat@yahoo.com.sg. Thanks

    May 7, 2008 | 8:33 pm

  22. Hooseny Faeza says:

    Dear Sir,
    Our company import regularly Dried Turmeric Fingers from Myanmar. Please inform if you can supply the above product.

    Thanks & Regards
    F . Hooseny

    May 19, 2008 | 1:43 pm


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