As far as trends go, fresh ginger is Hot, Hot, Hot! It’s everywhere on menus these days from signature cocktails to entrees to desserts!
And no wonder! Not only is fresh ginger spicy, aromatic, and so tasty, it is incredibly good for you. Ginger has been used for ages as an anti-inflammatory and is a well-known cure for symptoms of motion as well as morning sickness. And next time you have a cold or the flu, try some hot ginger tea. It’s an age-old remedy that helps boost your immune system.
There are a ton of great uses for ginger in drinks. I like steeping it in some simple syrup to add that special zing and spice to drinks. And of course ginger beer is the latest darling in the whole Modern Mule Cocktail Craze – and easy to make, vodka, squeeze of lime, and a great ginger beer, like Rachel’s Ginger Beer – a local fave!
Hands of fresh ginger are easy to peel using a small spoon!
Want to know my ginger peeling trick – it’s like magic! Peeling ginger roots with the side of a spoon – the brown skin rubs right off, and you won’t waste too much of the great flavorful inside. It’s that easy.
And one of my favorite and easy Pacific Northwest-inspired meals is fresh local clams or mussels steamed with lots of ginger, garlic and lemon grass with a dash of hot chili paste and coconut milk. I’ve got a great recipe for you below!
Stay zesty with ginger! -Kathy
A favorite mussel recipe from One of my first cookbooks: Dishing
Steamed Mussels in Gingery Thai Basil Coconut Broth
One of the many basil varieties, Thai basil is often described as having a spicier fragrance than sweet basil. I’ve combined it with ginger, lemongrass, and steamed mussels for a dish that is full of aromatic characteristics and brothy richness.
Makes 4 starter servings or 2 entrée servings
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsps. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. chili flakes (or 1/2 – 1 tsp. Asian chili paste if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh lemongrass (optional)
1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsps. coarsely chopped fresh Thai basil
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 pounds fresh mussels in the shell, washed and debearded
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup matchstick-cut red bell pepper
1/4 cup slivered green onion
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemongrass and cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds; do not let the mixture burn.
Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, Thai basil, lime juice, mussels, carrots, red peppers, and green onions. Bring to a boil, and cover immediately. Steam the mussels, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels just open. Immediately remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, divide the mussels (discard any that are unopened) and vegetables among bowls and pour the broth over them. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.
Chef’s Tips: If Thai basil is not available, substitute any fresh basil.