The warming effects of ginger
I have to say, there’s a real love affair going on between me and ginger. It started in Tübingen back when I was 18 years old and is still going strong to this day. Tübingen is a medium-sized town in the German region of Baden-Württemberg where I grew up, and it was in an Asian shop here that I first discovered ginger. Back then, the fresh, tangy spice of root ginger was generally thought of as an incredibly exotic ingredient.
As I also had a wok, I used it to come up with my signature dish that my friends would flock from far and wide to enjoy: roast broccoli with ginger and soy sauce. The fresh, crisp ginger lends the dish a really invigorating, energising effect. Later in life, I even discovered that tea made with this tropical plant would alleviate my hay fever symptoms. It’s not for nothing that ginger has been an integral component of Chinese medicine for centuries now, thanks to its warming, easing properties and ability to ward off colds.
This is why I am constantly coming up with new takes on my ginger tea. After work of an evening, I put a pan of hot water on the hob, let the mixture cook for a few minutes until the aromatic, ethereal aroma has permeated through the kitchen, and then pour the tea into a thermos to take to the restaurant kitchen the next day.
One of the lovely combinations of ingredients I’ve found includes two or three finger-sized pieces of ginger sliced into discs, a litre of water, the juice and zest of one lemon, a few sprigs of thyme, one sprig of rosemary, and an espresso spoon of turmeric. Cook it all together for three or four minutes before stirring in two or three tablespoons of honey to taste. Let everything steep for another few minutes, strain the liquid, and pour it into a thermos flask. You can really have some fun playing around with the different spices – chamomile blossoms make a lovely addition, as does a cinnamon stick, and you could even substitute the lemon for lime, or use orange blossom honey, for example, for a light, floral note.
And because I don’t always have enough time in the evenings, I always have a glass of instant ginger and honey tea waiting in the fridge for me. For this combination, I combine equal parts of honey and ginger in a blender, add the juice and zest of a lime, and that’s the mixture done. Simply add hot water to release all of that wonderful potency and warmth of the ginger. And if you’re looking for a soothing nightcap, you could even try adding a drop of whisky.