That pink pickled ginger you get with your sushi is way more than just a palate cleanser. Sushi ginger, also called gari, can add a tangy kick to many dishes beyond sushi.
First, let’s go over what sushi ginger is:
- It’s young ginger sliced thin and pickled in a vinegar-sugar solution.
- The tips of the ginger slices turn naturally pink.
- It has a sweet-tart, gingery bite.
You’re probably familiar with sushi ginger as an accompaniment to sushi rolls. But here are some other tasty ways to use it:
- In salads for a flavor pop.
- With cooked fish or meat dishes.
- Even in cocktails or sandwiches!
Sushi ginger’s versatility makes it a great ingredient to always have on hand. This guide will explore different ways to incorporate sushi ginger to enhance meals. Say goodbye to boring food with the help of this pink pickled wonder!
Understand What Sushi Ginger Is
First, let’s look at what exactly sushi ginger (also called gari) is:
- It’s made from fresh, young ginger that’s julienned or thinly sliced.
- The ginger is pickled in a vinegar, sugar, and salt solution.
- This pickling process turns the ginger slices a light pink/beige color.
- The finished product has a sweet, tart, and spicy ginger kick.
Sushi chefs serve a small pile with sushi rolls to refresh the palate between different types of fish. But sushi ginger’s uses go far beyond sushi!
Enjoy Sushi Ginger with Sushi
While sushi ginger’s most well-known role is as a sushi accompaniment, let’s explore specific ways it complements sushi:
- Place a small pinch between sushi roll pieces to cleanse the palate.
- Mix some into soy sauce for dipping sushi to add flavor.
- Garnish sushi rolls by nestling some slices on top.
- Add to hand rolls for a spike of ginger.
- Mix into homemade spicy mayo to serve with rolls.
Sushi ginger’s clean, tangy taste resets the tongue before the next piece of sushi. It also adds brightness to fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
Liven Up Salads with Sushi Ginger
Sliced sushi ginger makes a tasty addition to all kinds of salads:
- Toss thinly sliced ginger into leafy green salads.
- Add some sushi ginger to creamy potato or chicken salads.
- Use it to garnish fruit-based salads.
- Mix pickled ginger into unique salads like quinoa or chickpea.
- Sprinkle over an avocado salad for tang.
The sweet-tart ginger slices give pops of flavor and crunch to liven up salad textures.
Accompany Fish and Meat Dishes
Sushi ginger’s bright taste complements and cuts the richness of many proteins:
- Place atop grilled, broiled, or poached white fish.
- Mix into tuna or chicken salad.
- Garnish seared tuna or salmon steaks.
- Serve alongside roasted chicken, turkey, or pork.
- Mix into ground meat like turkey burgers.
The ginger adds brightness to balance oily fish and rich meats.
Use creatively in Sauces, Dressings, and Marinades
Get creative with sushi ginger in sauces:
- Blend into dipping sauce for potstickers or dumplings.
- Mix into tangy vinaigrettes and drizzle over salads.
- Add to Asian-inspired marinades for meat or tofu.
- Puree into a glaze for chicken wings or meatballs.
The ginger’s flavor comes through beautifully in blended, cooked applications.
Make Delicious Sushi Ginger at Home
Want to make your own? Here’s a simple homemade gari recipe:
- 8 oz fresh young ginger
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Peel and julienne ginger into thin matchsticks.
- In a small pot, bring vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil.
- Add ginger matchsticks, remove from heat, and let sit 20 minutes.
- Drain liquid and enjoy gari within 2 weeks.
Use the freshest young ginger you can find and slice it thinly. The tips will turn naturally pink!
Creative Ways to Use Leftover Sushi Ginger
Got leftover gari? Use it up with these ideas:
- Add to stir fries, fried rice, and noodle dishes.
- Mix into ground meat for burgers or meatloaf.
- Make pickled ginger simple syrup for cocktails.
- Blend into smoothies, lemonade, or tea.
- Stir into oatmeal, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
With its long fridge life, sushi ginger is an awesome ingredient to always have on hand. Way beyond sushi, it’s one of the most versatile ways to add bright flavor.
So don’t limit sushi ginger to just sushi! Use this tasty pickled ginger to punch up all kinds of dishes. Your cooking will thank you.