One of the first spices traded along the Silk Road, ginger has a long history of use across cultures and continents. Fresh ginger is used more frequently in Chinese cooking and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), but no spice cabinet would be complete without ground ginger powder.
What Is Ginger Powder?
Ground ginger or ginger powder (jiāngfěn, 姜粉) is made by peeling, drying, and grinding the rhizome (the underground root-stem) of the ginger plant, formally known as zingiber officinale. The result is a fine powder that has many applications as a spice.
The drying process leaves ginger powder a little less pungent than its fresh counterpart, but it still has a zesty kick. Pale yellowish-tan in color, ground ginger imparts a floral, citrus-like aroma, and a spicy, warm taste that livens up sweet and savory dishes alike.
How Is Ground ginger Used?
Though we tend to use fresh ginger more frequently, ginger powder is a key ingredient in some of our favorite savory Chinese recipes. It’s especially common in the cooking of Guangdong Province (also known as Cantonese cooking) which is distinguished by subtle flavors and sparingly-seasoned dishes.
The fine consistency and warm, almost lemony flavor of ginger powder makes it the perfect addition to simple but delicious dry rubs for roast duck, pork, and chicken, which are favorite menu items in this region.
With only seven ingredients (including ginger powder), our Cantonese-inspired Roast Pork with Five-Spice is fairly no-frills, but ginger powder and Chinese five spice powder harmonize to create a dry rub that gives pork belly just the right amount of zing.
If you’re looking for a way to up your weekday dinner game, Oven Baked Asian Dry Rub Chicken is as tasty as it is easy to prepare, thanks to a peppery dry rub of ground ginger and its cousin, dried sand ginger (or galangal).
In more ambitious recipes, like the Hakka Chinese classic Sour Plum Duck or Shanghai Savory Mooncakes, a pinch of ginger powder and a dash of white pepper makes the meat super flavorful and indulgent.
Of course, ginger powder has plenty of uses outside of Chinese cuisine, especially in the world of seasonal baked goods. When the pumpkin spice cravings start hitting us in the fall, we have ginger powder handy for Glazed Pumpkin Scones or Pumpkin Tres Leches Cake.
Buying & Storing
Ginger powder can be found at most grocery stores in the spice aisle. And due to the fairly recent explosion of ginger as a health supplement in the West, organic ginger can also be purchased online from a variety of brands, usually for less than $1 per ounce.
To maximize the shelf life of ground ginger, keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. When properly stored, it will keep for 3 to 4 years.