Everything You Need To Know about Ginger in Japan
Ginger is a popular ingredient known for its spicy and refreshing flavor. Some people categorized it as a spice, and others as an herb. Ginger was first harvested in the southern region of Asia and became popular in traditional medicine.
In Japan, Ginger is also a popular spice. It is omnipresent in Japanese cuisine: with grilled chicken, in soups, yakisoba, tofu, or sushi, ginger adds flavor and freshness to many dishes.
Why is Ginger Used in Japanese Cuisine?
It is said that ginger was first used in cooking for medicinal purposes.
In Japan, ginger is categorized as a yakumi, which is a type of food known to add flavor and health benefits. Garlic, yuzu, wasabi, and sesame are other examples of yakumi. In this category, ginger acts as a food preservative, it helps with digestion and prevents colds. Ginger is known for warming up the body, and is consequently used to balance the “cooling effect” of food like eggplant or tofu.
What are the Health Benefits of Ginger?
Ginger is used in Japan to prevent colds and warm up the body, according to the on-katsu lifestyle.
Known for their anti-aging and antioxidant properties, gingerol, shogaol, and zingerone are the 3 main components of ginger. This healthy spice is often used in natural medicine. Ginger is known for:
- being a natural remedy for treating nausea and morning sickness
- easing muscle pain
- helping for a better digestion
Where is Japanese ginger harvested?
Japanese ginger is mainly harvested in Kyushu island (Kumamoto and Miyazaki prefectures), Shikoku island (Kochi prefecture), and some areas located on the main island, Honshu (Chiba and Wakayama prefectures).
Ginger in Japanese Cuisine
In Japanese, ginger is called “jinjaa” from the English word. You will also hear the word “shouga”.
As we said earlier, ginger is considered a yakumi. This is why you can find it in a lot of Japanese dishes: curry rice, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, karaage, sushi, etc. Ginger is also used in drinks like Ginger Genshin.
There are two main types of ginger used in Japanese food: gari shouga and beni shouga.
What is “sushi ginger”?
The white ginger you will be offered with your sushi plate is called “gari shouga” or “sushi ginger”. Sushi ginger is a tsukemono (Japanese preserved vegetable). You can make it by yourself by cutting young ginger into thin slices and marinating it with salt, vinegar, and sugar. Sushi ginger has a sweet and sour taste and a pale yellow/pink color. You can eat it between 2 pieces of sushi or sashimi to cleanse your palate.
What is pink ginger?
Pink ginger is called “beni shouga”. It is cut into thin strips and it is often used as a topping for okonomiyaki and donburi. This type of ginger is marinated with the same solution as Japanese umeboshi, and it is also a type of tsukemono. Beni ginger is a natural and healthy way to add color and flavor to your dishes.
Can you Drink Japanese Ginger?
Hot ginger tea is called “shogayu” in Japanese. It is an easy way to consume ginger. Combined with another popular Japanese drink, brown rice coffee, you can boost your immune system and improve your sleep quality.
Brown rice coffee is used in Japan as a coffee alternative. One of the best brown rice coffee is TOMO Genshin, which is organic and caffeine-free, and made in Japan. Brown rice coffee can help you keep a healthy diet and warm up your body. This is why drinking Japanese brown rice coffee and ginger can be an amazing booster drink.
Ginger Genshin is a Japanese drink that combines Japanese ginger and roasted brown rice coffee. It is caffeine-free and it contains no coffee beans. You can find it in tetra bags and infuse it with boiled water, like tea.
If you like genmai tea, chances are high that you will love ginger genshin.
Drinking Ginger Genshin is an excellent way to prevent colds and warm up your body. According to the on-katsu lifestyle, warming up your body may even promote hair growth.
- Read our article: Discover "on-katsu", the Japanese art of warming up your body
When can you drink Ginger Genshin?
You can start your day with a cup of Ginger Genshin. It is made from safe ingredients harvested in Japan. This brown rice coffee can help you stay hydrated all day and improve your sleep (it is caffeine-free). If you don’t like plain water, Ginger Genshin is a tasty drink to try.
Easy Japanese Recipe for Sore Throat
Infuse one tetra bag of Ginger Genshin, and add a tablespoon of honey. Mix and drink!
Where can you buy Ginger Genshin?
- From Japan and worldwide: TOMO Japanese Online Store
- From the US: Amazon
Ginger in Japan is used as a yakumi, to add flavor and for its multiple health benefits. The most common types of ginger consumed in Japan are gari shouga, beni shouga and Ginger Genshin.