Sunday, 13 January 2013

Glorified Candied Ginger

Glorified Candied Ginger

I never resist those golden slices of sugary ginger available at the supermarket.  I usually buy a precious few, and make them last nibble by nibble. 

When I came across a recipe for the confection, I thought I could make it just a little better with cardamom and rose petals.  

I really should be working on my major Goan recipes right now, but I’m battling a bit of a flu, and thought I’d putter around with this recipe instead.

Now I have a glorious batch of candied ginger, too delicious to resist.  Much more pungent and flavourful than the store bought variety, this ginger is well worth the time spent puttering.

2 big “hands” fresh ginger, sliced lengthwise
water to cover
rose and vanilla flavoured sugars, and Indian raw cane sugar,
mixed and weighed to equal the boiled and drained ginger, about two cups
¼ cup water
1 green cardamom pod

3 cardamom pods, husked and finely ground in a mortar and pestle

Warning: this recipe seems easy, but it’s actually a labour of love.  I found a recipe in this month’s edition of Calgary’s City Palate magazine, and thought it would be quick and easy to pull off. 

Never being one to leave well enough alone, I had to glorify the ingredients, and may have seriously tampered with their original recipe, but whatever I’ve done, the result is magnificent, so onward:
I like a variety of sizes when it comes to candied ginger, so I sliced lengthwise as much as possible, to get lots of big pieces.  But little pieces are nice too, so I included them all.  (Discard tough gnarled bits.)  Once sliced, I put them in a pot filled with water to cover, and set them to boil.  Once frothing like mad and in danger of boiling over, I lowered the heat and simmered for a half hour.

The recipe said to drain the ginger, and didn’t mention anything about keeping the gingery water.  Outsmarting them, I poured some in a cup with a little lemon and honey and took a sip.

My ears nearly blew off. 

When you boil the same amount of water with ten peels of ginger, it’s great. When you go with a pound of ginger, you create catastrophe.  I still have the liquid, and am undecided what to do.  Will report on that later.  Killer cough syrup? Poison?  What to do...? *

I weighed the drained cooked ginger, and then put it back in the pot.  Mixing a combination of my rose and vanilla sugars, and Indian raw cane sugar, I measured the sugar to equal the ginger, and added that to the pot.  My mix was about a half cup of rose sugar, another half cup of vanilla sugar and the rest was the deeply flavoured Indian raw cane sugar.

 Here in Canada, regular sugar comes from the sugar beet, grown here.  Sugar is more finely ground than sugar in India.  The recipe claimed I’d be sprinkling more sugar onto the cooked ginger at the last moment, and so I hoped to sprinkle just rose sugar, including the odd petal.  The thing is that when you veer off of someone else’s recipe, surprises occur.

Ginger gets translucent as it nears cooking stage.
Once the sugars covered the ginger, I poured the quarter cup of water over the lot.  It didn’t seem like it would be enough, but the moisture within the ginger added to the liquid.  Tossing in a green cardadmom pod, I put the pot back on to boil, and turned it to medium to let it boil for about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Eventually most of the liquid had cooked off.  By then, I was stirring non-stop, about another fifteen minutes, but dared to glance at the recipe.  By the time I turned my head back, I saw the mixture had seized.  That is, no liquid was left in the pot, just slices of ginger and gazillions of dry sugar crystals. 

Taking it off the heat and stirring to cool it, I then poured it over cookie wracks set on a baking pan.  Sprinkling finely ground cardamom over the slices, I sighed knowing there was no longer room for my extra rose sugar.  I would have just tossed in some petals at this point, but my ginger isn’t the pale yellow candied ginger shown in City Palate's recipe.  Mine is too dark to show the rose petals to advantage. 

After letting the ginger cool completely, I nibbled like mad, and stored the rest in an airtight canister.
This makes a wonderful pick-me-up with a nice cuppa.  It packs a whallop, and I’m sure it drives off disease.  Powerful, punchy and delicious, it’s sure to cure your cravings, as well as anything that might ail you.  Go ahead, I dare you!

Update:  I've taken Divya's advice and combined the drained ginger liquid with the sugar that was stuck in the pot, then added more sugar.  All dissolved and mixed, and poured into ice cube trays.  Leftover went into my cup, along with lots of boiling water.  Result:  delicious tea.  


  1. Candied ginger looks too good Mary.. How r u? Hope your flu has gone away after drinking the ginger water ;) You can make tea with ginger water, dilute and just add tea powder and cardamom powder or whole pods, boil well, strain add milk and sugar (optional) and serve!! Its a good medicine against cold, congestion and sore throat :)

  2. Hi Divya, as you can see from my update, I've taken your good advice. Today I have zero symptoms!

    1. Wow that sounds great, you are all good now :) Thanks for taking up my idea!! Its a true honor :)

  3. that a sari that u placed the bowl over..pretty!ginger water..if you can store it till spring... taste awesome in a fizzy lemonade ...or some cocktail.....
    how was your goan sojour ...btw??

  4. The Goan trip was fabulous! Am already wondering how I'm going to pay for plane tickets for next year.

    Not a sari, just an inexpensive sarong that I bought in Goa last year, expecting to use it as a table cloth. In fact, it's rectangular, and doesn't work on my round tables! Oh well, it looks good in the photos.

    I've frozen the ginger water, and will keep the cubes in a sealed, airtight bag in the freezer. It will be fabulous in cold drinks.

    Thanks for visiting the blog.

  5. Ginger cake the stickier the better is my downfall. So pleased to see you on Calgary Herald top blogs.

  6. I meant to tell you I am getting my original blog idea up and running. I've had to change the title but the focus will be the same: seeing if beauty can save the world.

    1. Susan, I'm looking forward to your new blog. I love the philosophy! Thanks for visiting mine in the meanwhile!

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