Japanese Ginger (Gari)
If you are a sushi lover you are probably familiar with Japanese ginger. If not, we are going to tell you what it is, how it's prepared and why it tends to accompany sushi.
Japanese ginger, also known as Gari, is a pickled ginger with a sweet, aromatic taste. It is typically made from young ginger because of its natural sweetness and its more tender flesh. It is prepared by scrubbing off the skin and slicing the ginger very thin. The thin slices are salted and then allowed to dry.
While the ginger slices are drying a mixture of sugar and rice vinegar is brought to a boil, making sure that the sugar completely dissolves. The hot mixture of sugar and vinegar is poured over the ginger slices and then they are allowed to cool. The ginger slices can be stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
Japanese ginger is also often referred to as sushi ginger because it typically accompanies many sushi dishes. The reason that Japanese ginger and sushi are often served together is because the Gari is used to cleanse the palate.
A little bit of Gari goes a long way and it doesn't take very much to refresh your taste buds and remove any lingering flavors from previous foods. You would normally eat a single slice of Japanese ginger after eating one type of sushi and before proceeding to a different type. Doing so is said to help people enjoy the pure flavor of the sushi they are eating.
If you want to make your own Japanese ginger at home you can, and there are a number of recipes that you can find online.
One recipe calls for:
- 2 pounds of fresh young ginger, or shin shoga
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 3 cups of rice vinegar
- 2 cups of sugar.
Using those ingredients, your Gari can be prepared as described above.