Today I'd like to dedicate this post to a little guy who can do wonders for our health: ginger. As most of you know, it's a root used widely in Asian cooking to flavor dishes with a warm and spicy kick. Benefits are endless and I encourage you to incorporate it in your diet on a regular basis. Traditionally, it's been used for pain relief (especially for you, ladies!), anti-inflammatory and digestion aid. Fresh ginger is used to help break down high-protein quality foods such as meats and beans and lessen the effects of uric acids in the body from eating these foods. So, next time you treat yourself with a juicy steak, sip a cup of a ginger tea and you'll avoid a sleepless night.
Culinary-wise, ginger is a great addition to stir-fry dishes. In my weekly stir-fry it's a must ingredient. I grate one inch of fresh root and mix it with roasted sesame oil, tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and avocado oil as base to pan-fry my veggies. I also use it to marinade chicken and salmon with a little of tamari. Ginger is so widely used and I'm sure we all have tried it in a dish or two before.
One year ago my husband found ginger candies at our local Japanese food shop and it was love at first sight. Since then we have always had some ginger sweets at home. My husband suffers from hay fever and one thing helps him to manage the classical symptoms (runny nose and watering eyes) is to eat a lot of ginger. Store-bought candies are millions of light years far from what you can make at home with real, fresh ginger. Not only you'll make spicy and wonderful health-sh sweets, but you'll get also a very concentrate ginger juice that you can store in the fridge and dilute with hot water for a very powerful tea.
To make things a little bit healthier, I've used coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar to make the caramel, hence your candies will turn brown once caramelized. Of course, sugar is sugar; so eat in moderation. You'll notice that the flavor is so spicy that you'll satisfy your taste buds with only a couple of pieces. These are travel friendly and can last a month or so if stored properly in an airtight container.
Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
200 g fresh ginger (washed and peeled)
200g coconut sugar
800 ml water
With the help of a mandolin slice the ginger. If you don't have one, like myself, cut thinly with a knife. Put the sliced ginger in a pan and boil in water for 35 minutes or until tender (fork test). Save the water in a jar and use it for cold or hot teas; remember to dilute it in extra water because it's a very strong ginger concentrate.
Weigh the ginger and add the same amount of coconut sugar in a pan with 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the concentrated water. Let the sugar caramelize and stir frequently to avoid burning. You'll know it's ready when the sugar has turned completely liquid, it's bubbling and it has taken a caramel consistency (gooey and sticky). Usually this would take 20 minutes.
Lay parchment paper underneath a cooling rack and empty the content of the pan onto the rack. With the help of chopsticks divide the individual pieces of ginger and let the excess caramel drop onto the parchment paper. Let it cool for an hour then in a cup filled of coconut sugar, coat the caramelized ginger for a last touch. Finish to cool on the rack overnight.