If you’re staring at a knobby, thick-skinned piece of rhizome and wondering how to cut ginger, look no further—I’ve got your back. Fresh ginger adds its signature spicy, earthy flavor to soups, salads, stir-fries, risotto, desserts, and more, but you have to know how to cut ginger before using it. Don’t be intimidated by all the nooks and crannies and funny shapes of fresh ginger, though—you can easily tame it into aromatic slices and easy-to-use small dice with the help of a spoon and a sharp knife.
What Is Ginger?
Often called ginger root, ginger is derived from the rhizome (rhizome) of ginger, a tropical flowering plant that belongs to the same family as cardamom and turmeric. Raw fresh ginger’s sharp bite comes from gingerols, an aromatic compound that transforms into sweeter zingerone when heated or dried, making ginger an especially versatile ingredient. Many cuisines, such as Southeast Asia and India, use ginger to make savory and sweet dishes.
Ginger has several purported health benefits and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years in India, China, Greece, and the Middle East—especially to reduce nausea and motion sickness. It’s also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
How to Cut Ginger
Cutting ginger is relatively simple once you know a few techniques.
Gather your tools. Fresh ginger roots can be fibrous and tough. A sharp chef’s knife can make all the difference when chopping slices of ginger, so make sure your kitchen knife is sharpened. You will also need a clean cutting board. If you have a Microplane or a cheese grater with small holes, skip the following steps and use one of these tools to grate the ginger.
Cut the ginger lengthwise. Take your peeled root and slice it lengthwise to steady the ginger on a cutting board. Then use your sharp knife to make thin, lengthwise slices at an angle. This is also known as a julienne cut and should give you a bunch of thin slices the size of matchsticks.
Mince the ginger (optional). For making a soup or stew, larger pieces of ginger may be preferable. Cut the ginger into small pieces for a salad dressing or stir-fry by turning the stacked slices to the side and chopping across the width. Keeping your fingers tucked away from the blade, chop the ginger pieces until adequately minced.
How to Slice, Julienne, Chop ginger
The great thing about ginger is that it can be used in recipes. You can make it as a paste for curries, chop it for a stir-fry, or grate it for baking. My favorite way is to grate the ginger for a curry or afternoon tea.
Using a sharp knife, cut the ginger into rings. Slice the ginger along the fiber grains.
Stack 2-3 rounds you cut above and cut into thin lengthwise sticks.
how to julienne ginger
Line up the ginger sticks you cut above and chop them into small pieces.
How to Make Ginger Paste
Ginger paste is a method within itself that offers a wonderful way to meal prep and save yourself a step the next time you need grated ginger in your recipe.
To make the ginger paste: Peel and cut into cubes. Place in a blender or food processor and process until your desired consistency is reached (coarse to super-fine).
3 Ways to Use Fresh Ginger
Now that you’ve learned how to chop ginger and are ready to make it home, it’s time to try some recipes.
Candied ginger is a fresh ginger root preserved in sugar syrup. To make candied ginger, peel and slice fresh ginger, then par-boil and cook the pieces in sugar syrup. Candied ginger is stored and served in sugar syrup, whereas crystallized ginger is candied ginger coated in additional sugar.
Ginger tea: Ginger tea is an herbal tea made with fresh ginger and boiling water. You can add fresh lemon juice, sweeteners, or cinnamon sticks to ginger tea, which has a long history throughout Asia as a medicinal beverage.
Beni shoga (Japanese pickled ginger): Beni shoga is a type of tsukemono (Japanese pickle) made with ginger root. Beni shoga consists of young ginger cut into thin strips and pickled in Numazu, a plum vinegar left over from making umeboshi (pickled plums).