August 28, 2012
At Japanese restaurants, sushi is usually served alongside with gari (pickled ginger). Why? It’s a nice way to cleanse your palate so that you can enjoy each piece of fish, without mixing the flavors in your mouth. These pickled gingers are widely available at Asian grocery stores, but if you have a couple of hours to spare, and have an access to new ginger, why don’t you try to make your own gari?
One crucial element about making your own gari is to find new ginger. Unlike an old man’s testicle, new ginger has quasi-translucent skin that is soft and very juicy.
I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but the skin is a lot lighter in color compared to usual ones you find. Right now is the season for new crop gingers, and I walked all around Chinatown in search for it. I only found it toward the end of my journey when I was about to give up. If you speak Chinese, you may ask the shop people if they have some secret new ginger in the back of the store. Otherwise, it was pretty hard to find. If you do find it, I would recommend to buy a bunch. I bought five pounds.
400 ml rice vinegar
160 gram sugar
2 tbsp honey
Peel the skin (if you find the ginger very clean with extremely thin skin, you don’t need to peel), and slice using either a slicer, or mandoline. As you know, ginger is full of knobs, so it’s pretty annoying to cut, peel and slice each knob, but try to be patient.
After you slice the ginger, sprinkle a bit of salt, toss, and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the pickling liquid by boiling the rest of the ingredients together. Boil altogether for about 5 minutes then set it aside.
Then, boil water, and cook the sliced ginger for just about 2 minutes to cut the heat a bit.
Drain, and put the ginger in a jar, while everything is still hot.
Then pour over the pickling liquid so that all the ginger is covered. Put this in the fridge and you can start munching on them after 3 days or so.
Gari is very refreshing, plus there’s no preservatives, no chemicals, and it’s always taste better home made, than store-bought. This jar will last for a long long time (almost forever).
As I said, the most crucial part of this is to use new ginger. Don’t even try to make it with regular old-man’s-testicle-ginger.