This premium grade of ginger root from China is considered the finest in the world. It has a bright, lemony aroma when freshly grated, adding a warming heat to stir fries, curries, and baked goods.
Ginger has been used since man’s earliest recorded history. The root was often searched out for its healing properties and is mentioned in the Aryurveda, the fifth century BC Hindu guide to the science of medicine. Ginger is also mentioned in The Koran in 76:15-17: “Round amongst them [the righteous in Paradise] are passed vessels of silver and goblets of glass ... a cup, the admixture of which is ginger.” Ginger commands much reverence in Chinese cooking, mainly due to its past as an important part in medicinal healing, but also due to the spiritual role it once played during early religious ceremonies, where they aided in communication with the gods. Chinese cuisine varies by region in the vast country of China, but ginger plays a role in balancing food in nearly all parts of the country as a yang (hot) ingredient. Those familiar with fresh ginger know that his is more than just a philosophical description. Chinese culture often involves balance and harmony, the yin and yang, in various aspects of life including cooking. Many cool (yin) dishes are complemented with yang by using ginger, to create a nutritionally and spiritually balanced meal. Western cooking also involves a balancing of ingredients, albeit less intentional, pointing to the idea that all people seek balance in their cooking. Fresh ginger is typically used in Chinese cooking, with the two major exceptions of curry blends (borrowed from neighbors from the south of China) and Five Spice powder, a tasty spice mix often used is Chinese cooking - both of these use powdered ginger. Fresh ginger wouldn’t last the long trips it was taken on 5,000 years ago when spice caravans left India for the Middle East, and so it was dried after picking. Arab and Persian groups used ginger primarily as a spice. Although fresh ginger is of course available in these areas now, the dried root form is still more popular in Middle Eastern cooking. The dried root can be stored indefinitely and soaked for one hour to be rehydrated, and then used as fresh ginger. Rehydrated Chinese ginger can be grated and made into a paste, or you can simply grate the dry root to achieve the sort of ginger powder needed for your baking recipe. Most of the ginger imported to the US is from Cochin, India, but is inferior in quality to the premium, top grade Chinese ginger, known as China Number One.