Monthly Archives: June 2010

Thai Ginger Soda

I’ve made a couple of trips to Thailand, a gloriously exotic place that is among the several tropical locales where ginger grows easily and everywhere. Its bright, fragrant flowers can be seen decorating most backyards, and hands of ginger are piled high in the markets. It flavors stir-fries and curries, teas and sweets.

In Thailand, as in most of Asia, tea is the most widely consumed beverage. However, because of its latitude, Thailand doesn’t get cold weather. Much of the year is, in fact, steamy, so cold drinks are welcome. In Thailand, iced coffee is very popular, and cans of iced coffee are more common (and cheaper) than Coca Cola. Sweet, locally produced sodas and fruit juices are also abundant. This sweet ginger soda from Thailand is the perfect treat for anyone who loves ginger. It has a delightfully tropical taste, along with a bit of a bite, thanks to ginger’s fiery nature. Enjoy.

Thai Ginger Soda
1/4 cup chilled khing chuam (recipe below)
1 cup (or more) chilled seltzer water or club soda
ice
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Ruling Rhizome

Hands of Ginger in a Thai Market

Helen of Troy may have been a great beauty, but spices have launched more ships. The world has pursued big, exotic flavors for almost as long as the world has eaten—and among big, exotic flavors, almost nothing surpasses Zingiber officinale, better known in English-speaking countries as ginger. Ginger was one of the “big three” spices (along with black pepper and cinnamon) for which everyone, for most of recorded history, wanted to get to the Far East.

Ginger has been enjoyed in its native tropical Asia (probably India and Malaysia) since the misty ages of prehistory. In fact, it has been cultivated there for so long that its wild forebear no longer exists. Continue reading

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