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The importance of ginger in North Indian cuisine

Indian cuisine has won legions of fans the world over, thanks to its diverse range of dishes and creative use of natural ingredients. From the coconut-infused delicacies of southern Kerala to the rich curries of the Punjab, the fertile lands of the sub-continent offer an unparalleled natural larder which has contributed to the incredible cuisine of the land.
Up in the northern reaches of the Punjab, agriculture plays an important role in the daily life of the people. The fruits of the land have shaped Punjabi cuisine over the years, giving the creative cooks of the region the ability to develop some of the best-loved recipes in the Indian recipe repertoire. 

As well as the traditional Tandoori meats and tempting kebabs of the region, Punjabi cuisine is well-known for its delicious range of vegetarian options and its innovative use of the many vegetables and herbs which thrive on the fertile plains.
One of the key elements of many Punjabi dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, is ginger – a favourite of the North Indian store cupboard. Cooks in North India will often use a paste made up of garlic and ginger as one of the base ingredients to begin a dish. This paste is quite often fried with onions in hot ghee, along with any spices that might be used in the recipe. In this way, the spices can release their flavour, filling the air with an irresistible aroma. The past is also integral to that curry house classic, Tandoori chicken, or in fact any meat dressed for cooking in the Tandoor.
It isn’t just the fresh and distinctive taste of ginger that makes it so indispensible to Punjabi cooks. It is also believed to have healthful properties such as acting as a digestive aid, an anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant. Even here in the UK, ginger is used to help relieve issues such as motion sickness, nausea and dizziness. 
As well as playing a key part in the marinade for the famous Tandoori meat dishes, ginger is integral to the Punjabi biryani, another non-vegetarian speciality that zings with flavour once the ginger and onion are combined.
Vegetarians who are eager to experience this golden ingredient in action should try the famous Punjabi dish, dal makhani. This creamy lentil-based recipe is a traditional favourite, its wholesome, warming flavours and consistency making it the ultimate choice when you’re craving Indian comfort food. 
Ginger isn’t just used in main meals, but in a wide variety of street snacks and side dishes – you’d be hard pressed to find a traditional Indian thali that does not incorporate ginger in some form. Sample the delights of aloo gobi, a potato and cauliflower concoction with a flavour that’s borne from the heady mix of ginger and garam masala.
Visit one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants to experience the authentic flavours and ingredients of the sub-continent. With expert chefs blending the very best recipes of India with contemporary tweaks, you can be sure you’ll be in for an evening you won’t soon forget.