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.