If you asked me what are the top few natural small eats I would vote, here is one, pickled ginger. When having a Japanese meal, the first bite I usually have is these small pieces of ginger, though I know my proper behavior is to consume them between different kinds of sushi for cleansing palate. However, I can hardly take those that are made with coloring and sweetener; I can tell and you can tell as well, I trust.
Now, the baby gingers which I bought for making this pickled snack appear almost everywhere in our market. One stall simply dumps them in a big basket above a trolley, at the price of HK$8 per catty (i.e. US$1/~500g). Their skins usually look pale and are slightly pinkish on one end so it should be easy to distinguish them from the regular gingers.
- Back to the recipe:
- 600g baby ginger
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- lemon juice from half
1) Scrape off skin of ginger, rinse and pat dry (advise to wear hand gloves for doing this particularly if you have sensitive skin).
2) Cut the ginger into ~1mm slices, and mix with 1 table spoon of coarse salt. Let them stand for an hour, after which some liquid will exude. Discard liquid, rinse ginger with drinkable water, strain dry.
3) At this moment, the ginger slices still appear to be yellowish. Add in lemon juice and sugar, mix well. To ensure the ginger slices are in good contact with the juice, it is best to have them laid in a large and flat container while they are being steeped. I have turned and stirred the ginger for several intervals (~15 minutes each) before chilling. Then you shall start seeing the ginger turning pink.
4) Put the well-mixed ginger slices in a glass or ceramic bottle (or any sterilized container that is non-reactive to lemon juice), let them chill for one day.
5) Enjoy your homemade natural snack – no coloring, no sweetener, no additive for sure.
Should you find the mere munching of ginger slices a little bit bored, try wrap a piece of century egg with a slice of ginger, and see if they two together fit your appetite. Actually this is a kind of Hong Kong small eats that I have missed for quite a while.
1) With the aid of a mandolin slicer, I find it fairly easy to finish the slicing, pity is that the slices comes out slightly thicker than expected. Here is this little gadget.
2) Compare the pictures below to the one at the top, notice there is a difference apart from the quantity of slices? The top one is going to dry out! As I organized the gingers for photo-taking purpose, and put them near the window for better lighting, juice is almost gone. What I wish to point out is that the gingers taste much better as they are just taken out from the juice and are still wet.
3) If not baby ginger, regular (mature) ginger can also be considered for pickling. To reduce the spiciness of mature ginger, you may need to scald it in boiling water for a few minutes after sliced. Do take note that regular ginger if too aged will be a bit more fibrous.
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