FROM the beginning of July, you'll see baskets of pretty, pinkish-yellow, young ginger in the markets. This young ginger (gee geung) is the new summer growth and its flavour is milder and texture less fibrous than the old brown-skinned ginger that is used exclusively as a flavouring.
Young ginger can be thinly sliced and cooked like a vegetable - it is often stir-fried with beef - but most commonly it is pickled. Pickled ginger is eaten as a snack (often with preserved eggs) or it may be added to stir-fried, steamed or simmered dishes, adding piquancy to the flavour and crunchiness to the texture.
PICKLED YOUNG GINGER 11/2 catties young ginger root (gee geung) Salt 1 cup rice vinegar 1 cup water 2 cups sugar Few drops red food colouring Soak the ginger root for 1/2 hour in water and then scrape away the knobbly bits of skin. Slice very thinly and sprinkle with salt. Leave for about two hours; the salt will draw the liquid from the ginger so that it remains crisp. Simmer the vinegar, water, sugar and colouring for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Pack the ginger into clean, screw-top jars (no need to rinse off the salt) and add the hot pickled liquid. The ginger will keep for a year in the fridge, conveniently until next season's new ginger! The food colouring is added to give the ginger a delicate pinkish hue.