Spices and Seasons – Ginger and Blueberries


The weather is finally consistently warm and the indoor
markets are closing this week, our home garden is blossoming. We have had a
fulfilling crop of summer radishes and turnips. One of the ingredients that is
a staple in my kitchen particularly for quick sautéing is Ginger.

Not surprisingly another versatile spice that is popular in a lot of Asian Cuisines, including an Indian table. I personally do keep powdered ginger handy for occasional baking recipes but almost always prefer fresh ginger. Fresh ginger or ginger root is the root or rhizome of the ginger plant.

I have had the best luck with ginger in Asian grocery stores such as Kam Sen or of course the newly opened H Mart. It is important to try and find ginger that is not very fibrous and this can be usually detected by ginger that has a smooth skin and is not very dry to touch. I buy ginger in generous quantities as it keeps well in the refrigerator. Peeled and grated ginger can also be frozen and keeps well this way. To get the right texture for most Indian cooking, I peel the ginger and use a nice micro plane grater for grating. This serves a dual purpose of processing and removing unwanted fibers.

I am not sure where I picked up a pack of fresh and fruity organic blueberries. I used them for a sauce for some medium sized scallops
that I had picked up. The entire dish was put together in a very short period of time. I baked the sauce, while I seared the scallops and then combined them together with some finely chopped basil. I have used medium sized scallops
here, because that is what I found this weekend at the store. I would however highly recommend the large scallops if you can get a hold of them. What caught my attention was how prominent the ginger was in this recipe and felt that this would be an amazing way to show case both ginger and the welcome fruit of summer.

I have found the pairing of ginger with berries works well for a savory and sweet compliment. I have a chutney that I make with the same combination.

Sumac Seared Scallops in a Blueberry Ginger Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4


 For the scallops

1 pound of medium or large scallops

½ teaspoon sumac

½ teaspoon raw cane sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Blueberry Sauce

½ cup fresh blueberries

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

½ teaspoon raw cane sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

To garnish

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

Method of Preparation

1. To prepare the scallops, make sure that they are very dry, I was them and blot them out on a lot of paper towels. I shall definitely
tell you that paper towels are one of my non-green vices, but they work.

2. Toss the scallops in the sumac and the sugar.

3. In an oven proof dish add the blueberries, ginger, cane sugar, salt and the ground coriander and toss lightly.

4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place the dish in the oven.

5. In a large flat skillet, heat the oil and the butter on medium heat for at least one minute.

6. Carefully place the scallops on one side in a single layer with some space between each scallop.

7. Cook for 3 minutes and turn and repeat on the other side for about 4 minutes on the other side. The scallops should turn golden and turn
just a little golden on each side.

8. Check on the blueberries, which should have popped and have formed a bubbling sauce.

9. To serve spread the sauce on the place and place about 5 scallops per person. This should be about 3 to 4 scallops if using the large

10. Sprinkle with basil leaves before serving.

I shall be telling about more ways to use ginger, in partnership with other spices, so tell me do you have a favorite way to use this spice.

Rinku Bhattacharya, is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, and original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to learn and connect.

Her cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, is scheduled to be published in November 2012. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest.




About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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