Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.
Hello and welcome to the A-Z Of the culinary alphabet which I am so pleased that you are enjoying…Let’s start with two ingredients which not only do I grow but use very frequently in fact almost daily I would say…
Ginger and Galangal are both used frequently in Thai cuisine. The difference visually is quite apparent Galangal has that lovely pinkish hue when it is freshly dug up.
Ginger is a soft brown colour a comparison could be the peacock and the peahen…in my mind…haha
Galangal or as it is also known Thai ginger is used in many dishes …it can only be sliced it does not grate well it is also used in the famous Tom Yum Soup
Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here in Thailand or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.
Both are members of the rhizome family…turmeric and cardamom both being relatives of ginger which has a softer taste than the citrusy Galangal.
Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits. Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.
Ginger Beer… my mum used to make it and I have memories of the corks popping out while it was fermenting in her pantry. She used to feed the root and then pass half on to a friend a bit like we pass on our sough dough or kombucha. For so long I kept saying I am going to start a ginger beer plant as I have such happy memories and love a drink of ginger beer.I am now the proud owner of one and love it…
The true Ginger Beer Plant dates back to around the 1700’s and is not actually a plant at all, instead it is a living organism. This organism forms a gelatinous cluster which moves about within its jar naturally, and used correctly can allow you to make a lifetime’s supply of authentic, naturally fizzy alcoholic Ginger Beer that used to be commonplace in most UK households.
Easy to make just follow the instructions below…
- Dice a tablespoon of fresh ginger root into small cubes and place this into a sterilised jam jar three quarters full of de-chlorinated or mineral water.
- Add two teaspoons of white sugar.
- Cover the top of the jar with some muslin to allow air flow but protect from debris or insects falling into the jar.
- Leave the jar in an exposed place at room temperature, e.g. a kitchen shelf.
- Every day for about a week add two teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of fresh diced ginger root.
- If after one week the mixture is frothy with a pleasant odour it is ready to use. If it is mouldy discard it and start at the beginning again.
Garlic has been used for several thousands of years a common seasoning used by most people it is also hailed as having numerous health benefits.
Garlic one of my most purchased foods and one I use daily it is also lovely pickled… If you coat the cloves with olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are soft they can then be squeezed and made into a dip.
The Koreans heat the heads of garlic for several weeks and the sweet and syrupy result is sold as black garlic.
Now who doesn’t love garlic bread and I claim to make the best garlic bread… Garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini all made with garlic are just wonderful…
Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic and if used as a substitute for fresh garlic 1/8 tsp. is eqivalent to approx 1 clove of garlic.
The garlic leaves are used in cooking here and in many parts of Asia they are cut, cleaned and then stir fried with eggs,fish, meat or vegetables.
Gribiche… a sauce originating in France made with hardboiled eggs and capers but is it a sauce? A vinaigrette , a mayonnaise or a condiment it seems to get labelled around the world of cuisine as any of those and has evolved over the years as many recipes have …I think I much prefer the original.
Guacamole…first developed by the Aztecs it is a popular dish of Mexican origins and also made all over world now as an appetiser or side to spicy dishes.
• I avocado
• 1 ripe tomato
• 1 finely chopped shallot or green onion…I prefer shallots
• I birds eye chilli finely chopped
• 1 tbsp of fresh coriander
• Salt and black pepper for seasoning
• Lime juice
- Peel and roughly chop the avocado
- Stir in the chopped onion, chilli, tomatoes and the coriander.
- Season to taste with salt, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
- Cover bowl with cling film and chill before chill before serving.
As pictured we love ours chunky rather than smooth but it is all a matter of choice…
Goosefat… Make for the best roast potatoes and it also has a high smoke point. It has also been known as that “old white magic” and used for generations in Europe. Once so prized in France only the aristocracy had permission to eat it… milder than duck fat it has a distinct flavour and adds a quality of any of your dishes very versatile you can confit, sauté, bake, roast, baste, pan fry, deep fry and stew and is still widely used in French cuisine.
Gratin… Who doesn’t love a cauliflower cheese or other vegetables coated in a cheese sauce? The meaning is a dish tipped with lightly browned bread crumbs or cheese.
Garam Masala… I make all my own spices and this is no exception easy to make and it means spices rotate quicker so they are always fresher which one reason why I make my own spice mixes and also it is cost effective and they contain no fillers and no nasties like store bought mixes.
Some ask the question is it the same as curry powder? The answer no…Curry powder contains many of the same ingredients for example fenugreek and cumin along with other spices however garam masala consists entirely of pungent spices and has a stronger flavour.
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 2 tbsp cumin seeds
• 4 whole cloves
• 6 cardamon pods green
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 inch piece of cinnamon
• 1 tsp black peppercorns
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 piece of mace.
- Dry roast all your spices individually until warm and fragrant.
- Leave to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder …I have a little coffee grinder which I use to grind my spices and it works really well prior to that I used a pestle and mortar which is hard work but brilliant as an arm toner.
- Store in an airtight container and use within 3 months as the spice will start to lose its potency …If you use a lot of gamma masala then just double or treble the quantities.
Green Papaya… One of my favourites and used all the time here to make Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) I also use them to make mango chutney as although I love Thai food I also love Indian food .
It is a very common sight here when taking a walk as most gardens have their own papaya trees again it is a staple of the Thai diet.
Som tam is also one of our favourite brunches and eaten at least twice a week if not more even little Lily loves now. This one pictured is made with crab
I hope you have enjoyed reading the letter G…Thank to everyone who has commented and loves this series as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it…Thank you also to Sally for re running my Culinary Alphabet while I slave away in my kitchen and boy is it hot…haha…testing and re testing recipes for my cookbook.
Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the Culinary alphabet…Until next time when it will be the letter H. Stay save and well x
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: Amazon US
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My thanks to Carol for sharing this series with us as she also works on her cookbook and novel this year…As always we are delighted to receive your feedback and if you could share that would be great.. thanks Sally.