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I'm trying my hand at Chinese cooking. I doctored a mung bean soup that otherwise turned out okay. I took the spices, veg, added them to stock, waited till boiling over medium heat then simmered away (standard method in Asian cooking...?)

The trouble's the ginger. I chopped up pieces of ginger pretty finely because I assumed that more surface area = more flavor released. However, I wound up wincing every two bites as I'd bite into the bits of ginger. Not fun.

What to do?

  • Perhaps you're unusually sensitive to ginger? Assuming what you mean by "pretty finely" is minced, or cut into pieces you couldn't make any smaller without pureeing them, they really shouldn't be noticeable as individual pieces. – Carey Gregory Nov 8 '13 at 5:02
  • I know I haven't been here in a while, but I'm not too sensitive to ginger, actually. For sore throats/Ayurvedic, the stronger, the better, but for dishes it just seems to overwhelm. I haven't tried the paste yet (next project) but the coins worked well. – user21142 Jul 4 '14 at 10:58
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    Ginger is grateable. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 28 '15 at 12:52
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I like using a microplane to very finely grate the ginger (that's easier to do if the ginger is frozen), or making a paste with with the ginger in a food processor. If you make enough at one time you can even use a blender. Just peel the ginger (you don't have to be perfect), cut it into chunks, add just enough water to get almost a baby food consistency and puree. Then you can stir fry it to flavor the oil, add it to soup, add it to anything that you want and use as much as you want but you'll never bite into a chunk, nor will you ever need to fish it out of anything. The ginger paste will last quite a while in the fridge, it can also be frozen. Make the paste with half ginger and half garlic and you've got a great convenient ingredient for all kinds of applications.

EDIT: This question inspired me. I needed a housewarming gift for my new neighbor and landlord. When I freeze ginger/garlic paste for myself I have always just used ice cube trays, but for a gift a little cookie scoop worked great. I just scooped the paste, froze the little rounds on freezer paper, then packed them in Ziplocs.

ready to freeze frozen

  • It's also possible to buy ready-made ginger paste such as you describe. – Peter Taylor Nov 7 '13 at 10:25
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    I buy the big bag (3lbs) of peeled garlic at Sam's Club and ~3lbs of ginger when it looks good. I make garlic paste, ginger paste and ginger/garlic paste with it. The whole thing takes me about 15 minutes, and requires one washing of my food processor. I give most of it away, yet still keep a six month's supply in my freezer for the price of a couple of those jars. :) Old habits die hard from my cafe running days. – Jolenealaska Nov 7 '13 at 17:42
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While it may not be traditional, you could cut the ginger into thin coins, which will still leave a significant surface area for the flavor to infuse into the broth. You could then remove them for service.

If you don't want to have to fish through the soup to get them, placing them in a tea ball would allow you to get them out all at once.

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Growing up with ginger in all sorts of food (ethnic Chinese here), I was never afraid to find slivers of ginger in my food and I wouldn't hesitate to eat it like just another vegetable. I think the reason is because the dish was always cooked long enough that the flavour from the ginger had already dissipated fully into the dish. Thus, the slivers of ginger were mostly flavourless.

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You are like me, I had congee once in China that was virtually inedible for me because there was pieces of ginger spread throughout and I absolutely hate hate hate ginger, and I am Chinese. So, I believe I can provide you with some very practical answers.

By mung bean soup I think you mean congee/zhou/粥?

First, what is your actual problem? Do you hate the taste of ginger altogether, or just don't like biting it? If you don't like biting it, then you can use ginger powder. I can detect tiny pieces of ginger even if you chop it finely or grate it so that is not an option for me. You will have to experiment with the quantity because fresh ginger tastes different to several-days old dried ginger (by dried ginger I mean after you cut a piece and leave the rest in the fridge or outside, not actual 'dried' ginger as in, dried fruit) and probably to ginger powder. I use whole pieces of ginger slices so I can pick them out except in meat fillings for dumplings and baozi.

Second, what I use ginger for: I use ginger in all meat products (meat = non-vegetarian and therefore fish) to get rid of what we call ‘xing', or a fishy/bloody/meaty flavour. A little bit of ginger (fresh or powder) plus cooking wine gets rid of the xing flavour, too much and you will actually taste the ginger. Trust me, I can taste and smell it. I do not use it in anything else. For meat fillings, you can use ginger powder so you will not have a chunk of ginger in your dumpling or baozi.

Third, a solution. If you want the fishy flavour eliminating power, then simply use whole larger slices instead of dicing them or grating them. Grating them will spread out the ginger in your entire dish and every mouthful will have it. You can easily pick out the larger slices. This is good if you need to stirfry the ginger first. If you need to boil the ginger as in your case, put your ginger in a cotton gauze spice bag and tie it up - the flavours will diffuse into the soup but your ginger and other spices will stay in the bag and you can pick it out in one go afterwards. Just use the right amount of ginger according to taste (you will need to experiment), a little to eliminate xing flavour, a lot to actually taste the ginger itself.

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