Homemade sweet, sour, and spicy Pickled Ginger is a delicious accompaniment to hard boiled eggs and sushi. Also great as a palate cleanser.
In my world, Pickled Ginger is synonymous with hard-boiled eggs. It is often associated with the happy occasion of a child’s birth. Traditionally, a “full moon” celebration is held when the baby is a month old. Red colored hard-boiled eggs are served to signify new life. The color red is for prosperity and good fortune. The tangy and spicy ginger with its vinegar provides moistness and flavor to the otherwise dry and bland egg yolks.
Pickled Ginger with Century Eggs
Pickled ginger is also a must-have with century eggs (皮蛋; pídàn). The preservation of these eggs causes the yolk to turn a dark green to grey color with a creamy consistency while the white becomes a dark brown translucent jelly. It is definitely an acquired taste and is not for everyone although pídàn juk (century egg congee) is often served at the dim sum restaurants. Ginger with sushi only entered the scene much later in life.
Young and Old Ginger
In Malaysia and Singapore, two types of ginger are sold at the markets. “Young” ginger is light yellow in color with a very thin layer of translucent skin. It also comes with lots of pink and green shoots and is the preferred type of ginger. Young ginger is not as pungent and may be eaten raw. It is often julienned as a garnish or used in stir fries. When pickled, it turns a blush or light pink color.
“Old” ginger has tan dry skin and is much spicier and more fibrous than young ginger. It has a stronger flavor and is used mainly in soups and curries. What is sold here in the US would be considered old ginger. Always choose thinner knobs of ginger as they are younger and less fibrous.
Homemade Pickled Ginger is very easy to prepare. Always use young ginger if available. Old ginger will spicier and will remain yellow in color.
Similar Tools Used in Making This Pickled Ginger
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- Peel or scrape ginger with a paring knife. Using a mandolin, slice ginger as thinly as possible (no thicker than 1/16th inch).
- Place 2 small jars in a pot. Fill water to cover jars. Bring it to a boil and allow it to continue boiling for 10 minutes. Turn off heat but leave the jars in the hot water until ready to be used.
- Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Let it come to a boil, and then turn off heat.
- Fill a medium size saucepan half full with water. Bring it to a boil. Scald ginger for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a metal strainer into sterilized jars.
- Pour vinegar mixture to completely cover the ginger. Place the lids on and allow it to cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator.
- Pickled ginger may be eaten in 2 to 3 days. Keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 months.
NOTE: This post was originally published on January 14th, 2014 with minor updates but recipe remains unchanged.