Gingered Jasmine Rice
Autumn vegetables are fairly predictable here in the Berkshires as farmers markets have an abundance of produce that coincidentally matches the colors of the changing leaves: bright orange and yellow pumpkins, winter squash, gourds and potatoes. But every so often you stumble upon a surprise! At the Litchfield Farmers Market a couple weeks ago I purchased locally grown organic ginger. This tropical Asian root loves a long hot growing season and so I never expected to find it in a local market. Wild Carrot Farm was selling ginger roots as well as the stems which resembled a thin corn stalk with a delicate ginger flavor, perfect for tea or infusions. The ginger roots had not had time to develop the usual bumpy brown skins and were a beautiful shade of pink and white with a very tender skin. I purchased the biggest bunch I could find – they freeze well and would keep me with a good supply of fresh ginger throughout the winter.
I’ve never used ginger stalks before so I decided to try them out in a simple recipe with fragrant jasmine rice. I removed the leaves and cut the ginger stalks into 3-inch lengths then slit them lengthwise. I put the stalks in a pot with 2 cups jasmine rice and 2 ½ cups water. The rice simmered for about 15 minutes and had a delicate ginger scent. The ginger stalks had all floated to the top of the rice, so they were easy to remove before serving.
Although you might not be able to find the full ginger plants - roots and stalks - in local markets, you can easily adapt the recipe to use readily available fresh ginger roots which have been peeled and grated. Store any leftover ginger in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Just be aware that when you use frozen ginger do not thaw it before peeling and grating or it will get mushy. You can grate it while frozen or, if you do let it thaw, then squeeze the ginger and use the liquid in place of grated ginger.
GINGERED JASMINE RICE
2½ cups water
2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger root
2 cups jasmine rice
Place the water and grated ginger into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice stay covered for another 5 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork before serving.
A nice variation on this recipe is to add 1 tablespoon of lightly crushed fennel seeds along with the grated ginger.