09 Aug The Culinary Alphabet…This month it is the letter G
The Culinary alphabet it is the letter G, of course, we have the obvious but I hope there is just even one that you hadn’t heard of there was for me…Which one do you think it was ??
Starting my Culinary journey with two ingredients which I use on almost a daily basis starting with my ginger tea first thing in the morning.
Ginger and Galangal are both used frequently in Thai cuisine and indeed the culinary world. The difference visually is quite apparent Galangal has that lovely pinkish hue when it is freshly dug up.
Ginger is a soft brown color a comparison could be the peacock and the peahen..in my mind..haha
Galangal or as it is also known Thai ginger is used in many dishes ..it can only be sliced it does not grate well it is also an integral part of the ingredients in Thai Tom Yum Goon Soup.
Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.
Both members of the rhizome family..turmeric and cardamon also being relatives of ginger which has a softer taste than the citrusy Galangal.
Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits. Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.
Ginger Beer… my mum used to make it and I have memories of the corks popping out while it was fermenting in her pantry. She used to feed the root and then pass half on to a friend a bit like we pass on our sough dough or kombucha. I keep saying I am going to start a ginger beer plant as I have happy memories and love a drink of ginger beer.
The true Ginger Beer Plant dates back to around the 1700’s and is not actually a plant at all, instead it is a living organism. This organism forms a gelatinous cluster which moves about within its jar naturally, and used correctly can allow you to make a lifetime’s supply of authentic, naturally fizzy alcoholic Ginger Beer that used to be commonplace in most UK households.
Many recipes now use yeast and I have seen some with sultanas in but they are not true ginger beer plants this recipe is my mum’s. Wash and peel the root first and my mum used tap water but not knowing what is in today’s tap water I would suggest filtered water or mineral water.
Dice a tbsp of the freshly cleaned ginger root into small cubes and place this into a sterilized jam jar three-quarters full of filtered or mineral water.
Add two tsp of white sugar.
Cover the top of the jar with some muslin to allow the air to circulate but protect from foreign bodies or insects falling into the jar.
Leave the jar in an exposed place at room temperature, e.g. a kitchen shelf.
Every day for about a week you need to add two tsp of sugar and two tsp of freshly diced and peeled ginger root.
If after one week the mixture is frothy with a pleasant odor it is ready to use. If it is mouldy discard it and start at the beginning again.
I do suspect it may be the water which is a problem on occasions as my mum didn’t often have that problem.
Garlic has been used for several thousands of years a common seasoning used by most people it is also hailed as having numerous health benefits.
Garlic one of my most purchased foods and one I use daily it is also lovely pickled… If you coat the cloves with olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are soft they can then be squeezed and made into a dip.
The Koreans heat the heads of garlic for several weeks and the sweet and syrupy result is sold as black garlic.
Now, who doesn’t love garlic bread and I claim to make the best garlic bread… Garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini all made with garlic are just wonderful…
Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic and if used as a substitute for fresh garlic 1/8 tsp is equivalent to approx 1 clove of garlic.
The garlic leaves are used in cooking here and in many parts of Asia… Cut, cleaned and then stir-fried with eggs, fish, meat or vegetables…they are very nice.
Gribiche… a sauce originating in France made with hardboiled eggs and capers but is it a sauce? A vinaigrette, a mayonnaise or a condiment it seems to get labeled around the world of cuisine as any of those and has evolved over the years as many recipes have …I think I much prefer the original.
Guacamole…first developed by the Aztecs it is a popular dish of Mexican origins and also made all over the world now as an appetizer or side to spicy dishes.
1 ripe tomato
1 finely chopped shallot or green onion…I prefer shallots
I birds eye chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp of fresh coriander
Salt and black pepper for seasoning
Peel and roughly chop the avocado stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Cover bowl with cling film and chill before chill before serving.
Goosefat… Make for the best roast potatoes and it also has a high smoke point. It has also been known as that “old white magic” and used for generations in Europe. Once so prized in France only the aristocracy had permission to eat it… milder than duck fat it has a distinct flavour and adds a quality of any of your dishes very versatile you can confit, sauté, bake, roast, baste, pan fry, deep fry and stew and is still widely used in French cuisine.
Gratin… Who doesn’t love a cauliflower cheese or other vegetables coated in a cheese sauce? The meaning is a dish topped with lightly browned bread crumbs or cheese.
Garam Masala… I make all my own spices and this is no exception easy to make and it means spices rotate quicker so they are always fresher which one reason why I make my own spice mixes and also it is cost effective and they contain no fillers and nasties like store-bought mixes.
Some ask the question is it the same as curry powder? The answer no…Curry powder contains many of the same ingredients, for example, fenugreek and cumin along with other spices however garam masala consists entirely of pungent spices and has a stronger flavour.
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
6 cardamon pods green
2 bay leaves
2-inch piece of cinnamon
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 piece of mace.
Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant. Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.
Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of garam masala then just double or treble the quantities.
Green Papaya… One of my favourites and used all the time here to make Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) I also use them to make mango chutney as although I love Thai food I also love Indian food.
I hope you have enjoyed this walk through some of the culinary ingredients beginning with G and tune in next month for my culinary journey and the letter H… Of course I can immediately think of a couple of spicy culinary ingredients beginning with H…Can You???
If you missed last months post “F”, you can always check it out under the heading “More” and Carol Cook’s