Fresh Ginger for Powdered Ginger Swap
August 25, 2020 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I have a recipe for a carrot-miso dressing that needs fresh ginger. Due to what I guess are supply chain issues, we don't have fresh or minced ginger in a tube in our stores, but I do have some powdered ginger in my spice cabinet. Could this be swapped? What would the quantity swap be?
posted by juniperesque to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It will be a different flavor, but it can work. Powdered ginger can be strong*. I'd start with 1/4 the amount of fresh ginger called for, and go up from there.

*if yours is old, it may not be quite so potent... smell it to get an idea of how strong of a flavor it has.
posted by hydra77 at 9:20 AM on August 25, 2020

I personally would not consider it a good swap. Powdered ginger is strongly aligned with autumnal baked goods for me (pumpkin spice, etc) and tastes quite different to fresh. In particular if this is uncooked (I'm assuming so since it's a dressing and not a sauce) there will be less chance for the powdered ginger to release flavor. Honestly I would just make it without the ginger and taste it - it's probably pretty good without. To get a different taste but retain a bit of bite like from fresh ginger you could grate in some raw garlic, which can be very harsh to some but delicious to others.
posted by Mizu at 10:05 AM on August 25, 2020 [6 favorites]

yeah it's quite a different beast. Dry ginger has a powdery aspect and is generally used in baked goods.

What you could do, if you really want to make this dressing, is take some of the amount of oil in it - I assume there's some oil? - and warm dry ginger up in the pan in the oil. Just fry it a little. This should bloom the flavor, infusing the oil with some of the brightness of fresh ginger. Then use that as your oil component.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:13 AM on August 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

You've probably checked but if not, they might have frozen ginger.
posted by trig at 10:16 AM on August 25, 2020

If you look around for variations on carrot-miso dressing recipes, you'll see that plenty of them use powdered ginger rather than fresh. I'm not sure why others are saying this would be an odd substitution, and I'd even say that powdered ginger "hides" better than fresh ginger because it tends to lack that hot, pungent burn that you get with the fresh stuff. As long as your powdered ginger isn't compounded with sugar, this would be a fine substitution for a dressing. The other benefit: you don't need an exact substitution ratio since you can do this according to taste. Start with a small amount, mix, taste, repeat.

For the record, I love dressings like this. There's a restaurant in my hometown that makes a similar dressing for their house salad that I love so much that I've asked them if I could buy some of it to take home (they said yes!). Their version is heavy heavy heavy on pickled ginger.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:27 AM on August 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

I also came in here to suggest the frozen ginger squares. If you live somewhere with Trader Joe's, they usually have them. (They've been in stock in my area.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:28 AM on August 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am eating a stir fry right now, made with powdered ginger, that’s so potent my eyes are watering. Granted, this is freshly-bought Penzeys ginger - but I drink the super-spicy ginger beer for fun, and this is on the edge of being too much for me. It’s definitely a little different if I think about it too hard, but *shrug*

As far as quantities, add a little and taste; if it’s not enough, add a little more. I don’t recommend doing what I did, which is to just dump some and hope for the best. (Narrator: it was not the best.)
posted by okayokayigive at 10:39 AM on August 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I replaced fresh ginger with powdered ginger in a soup a few weeks ago - I just guessed at the amounts and have no great insight into that. In any case, it won't taste the same as fresh ginger, but if you're just putting food on the table and not trying to get Michelin stars, it should be fine. It should also be fine if you just leave the ginger out.
posted by FencingGal at 10:52 AM on August 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'd do this. I'd do it by taste rather than measurement, I'd start with a small amount, and I'd assume it would come out very different than the fresh-ginger version. But I'd do it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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