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Ginger adds aroma and flavor to dishes

By Joan Namkoong

LAST UPDATED: 2:06 a.m. HST, Jun 1, 2011

Check out the hands of ginger at your supermarket or farmers market: Look for smooth, paper-thin, golden, shiny skins and plump fingers, signs of ginger freshly harvested.

It's time to enjoy this robust, flavorful rhizome from island farmers; as ginger ages, it becomes more fibrous, potent and shriveled.

Ginger is essential to Chinese cooking, used for its aroma, flavor and physiological effects. It's considered a yang food because it stimulates such functions as blood circulation, perspiration and digestion; it can also prevent nausea.

It is always paired with fish to kill off fishy odors and is used in a wide array of dishes that are boiled, braised or steamed. Nothing compares to ginger in chicken long rice, shredded atop steamed fish or finely minced over cold chicken.

Try this simple and delicious ginger sauce over pasta.

Green Onion and Ginger Pasta

Tylun Pang from "The Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook Volume II"

1 cup finely sliced green onion

1/4 cup finely minced ginger

2 teaspoons Hawaiian salt

1/4 cup peanut oil

1 pound linguine, cooked

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Mix green onions, ginger and salt in bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

In small saucepan, heat peanut oil on high heat until it just begins to smoke. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Add oil to the green onion mixture.

Toss linguine with oyster sauce, add the green onion mixture and toss again. Serves 4.


Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong offers a weekly tidbit on fresh seasonal products, many of them locally grown. Look for "Fresh Tips" every Wednesday in the Star-Advertiser.

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