Grating Ginger and a Ginger-Spiced Cucumber Salad

If you cook a lot of Asian food, you grate or mince a lot of ginger. Ginger comes in big “hands” and it’s rare to find young ginger. It can be rather stringy stuff. If you mince it with knife, it takes some work to mince it fine. A microplane works well, but the strings clog up the little holes of the microplane.

I had some ginger in the freezer – a tip I had gotten from Food Network. I needed to grate said ginger for a cucumber-ginger salad. I discovered that freezing the ginger helps in the grating quite a bit. It’s convenient as well. You usually end up buying more than you need and it often sits in your fridge, shriveling up or getting moldy, until you have to throw it out.

If you buy a big chunk of ginger, peel it, pop it in a plastic bag and throw it in the freezer. When you need some, no need to thaw it. Take it out and grate it on your fine microplane. You’ll end up with a pile of fluffy grated ginger and it will thaw almost instantly.

Most serious home cooks have a microplane by now. If you are a serious cook and you don’t have one, you need one. You probably need a few of them. It’s a small investment for the best kitchen tool to come around in a long time. The microplane is based on a woodworking rasp. It is unbelievably effective at grating anything – ginger, chocolate, parmesan cheese. It is the best tool for zesting citrus; nothing else even comes close to removing the zest while leaving the pith. Microplanes come in a number of sizes. I have a fine one that I use for zesting citrus or grating ginger. I have a medium microplane that I use for grating parmesan cheese. There are bigger holed microplanes that are good for shredding cheese. I haven’t invested in one of these, but it will be my next microplane purchase.

Here’s the ginger-cucumber recipe I made and it packs quite a ginger punch. It’s adapted from one I pulled off a recipe site. With my adaptations, it reminds me of a Thai salad – it combines sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. It’s very easy and quite refreshing. It is much, much better if it chills overnight. It mellows the ginger quite a bit and the cucumbers are more like pickles.

Ginger-Spiced Cucumbers
(serves 4)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon Japanese 7 spice (Shichimi Togarashi)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Combine vinegar, brown sugar, mirin, lime juice and ginger in a bowl.
2. Mix in cucumbers and onions. Toss to combine.
3. Cover and chill at least overnight before serving.
4. Drain before serving. 
5. Sprinkle with 7 spice and salt.

Note: Mirin is a Japanese rice wine. It can be found at Asian markets and natural food stores. Japanese 7 spice (Shichimi Togarashi) is a spicy blend used for seasoning and can be found at Asian markets. A pinch of cayenne can be substituted but it lacks the complexity.

Link to PDF of Ginger-Spiced Cucumber Recipe


Author: worldplatterblog

I blog about food, travel, and anything else tangentially related to food that piques my interest. I have a degree in Culinary Arts and in Operations Research (it's math). That means I'm pretty analytical and love science, but I also love art. Food is a strange place where science intersects art in continually changing ways. I love writing about all of it.

3 thoughts on “Grating Ginger and a Ginger-Spiced Cucumber Salad”

  1. Yay! I'm tired of having shriveled/moldy ginger in my fridge's veg drawer. Of course the freezing rec seems a bit like a no-brainer, but it turns out I needed someone to tell me. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s