How Do I Choose the Best Ginger Marinade?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2020
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Anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen knows that marinades can be a way of dressing up meat or vegetables to elevate them from ho-hum to memorable. Pork, poultry, and fish respond especially well to ginger marinade because its sassy, sharp flavor brings their own subtle flavor to the fore. Ginger marinade contains lots of minced ginger as a main or secondary ingredient, and it can range from sweet to spicy hot or from Asian to down home American barbeque style. Choosing the best one depends in part on personal taste and the food to be marinated.

Possibly the most popular marinade includes dark Asian teriyaki or soy sauce as well as ginger. Crushed garlic adds depth, and many cooks also add some powdered or wet mustard to heighten the zing. A little sweetness in this marinade helps liven things up, so a small amount of sugar or even maple syrup might find its way into the mix. Beef, especially steak cuts, benefits from a nice, long bath in this marinade before it is broiled or grilled, but poultry, shrimp, and other seafood also respond well to the layers of flavor found here.

For diners with a sweet tooth, a delicious variation on this marinade includes a good dose of honey and considerably less tamari or soy sauce. Cooks who enjoy wine notes can add a little sherry or sweet white wine to lend the marinated meat or fish flavor. This particular ginger marinade is a great way to prepare veggies such as sweet potato, carrots, or eggplant for the grill; adding oil to the marinade will coat the vegetables nicely and keep them from sticking to the grill or frying pan.

Not everyone is a fan of soy sauce or tamari, and while they offer the perfect foil for ginger, there are plenty of other liquid bases for a marinade. Scallops, fish steaks, or fillets gain magnificent flavor after a brief soak in a red wine vinegar marinade that includes a little oil and a lot of freshly chopped herbs as well as finely minced ginger. Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice can replace the vinegar to give the marinade an island flair.

A sweet, complex ginger marinade can be created using both cranberry juice and dried cranberries. Minced ginger and garlic, shallots, and veggies such as carrots or tomatoes complete the marinade, which works especially well with chicken. Some cooks like to simmer the marinade into a reduction to spoon over the chicken when they serve it.


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