Ingredient Insights: Galangal, Capers, Dill, & Great Northern Beans


It’s Sunday and I’m feeling like changing up Ingredient Insights a bit.
Just for today, at least.

Have you ever thought about how strange it would be to give food a gender and then talk about them as if they’re people? Well, you’re in for a treat…. Or a threat – it could easily go both ways.

What CANNOT go both ways is the saying “Food are friends” because it’s not socially accepted to treat your friends as food.

Let’s get started!


Galangal:

A few weeks ago, we learned about ginger’s brother, Turmeric. Today, we’re going to dig deep into ginger’s cousin, Galangal.

Meet Galangal, she came from the far lands of Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, and is often found in those countries cuisines or medicines. Her skin is smoother and paler than ginger and she’ll sometimes go by a couple of nicknames such as “Thai Ginger” or “Siamese Ginger.” As far as flavors go, Galangal’s got a sharp kick of spice to her, but with citrus and earthy undertones to help balance it out. When using Galangal, she shines best in dishes when she’s in slices, as opposed to being grated.

Galangal is a great gal to have in your life; she’s full of anti-inflammatory properties that help with arthritis and stomach problems, she can help you flush out terrible toxins in your body, AND SHE’S GOOD WITH THE GUYS. I mean, did you hear? She’s the secret to increasing sperm count and also increasing the general health of sperm in males.

Step away, Victoria, it’s Galangal’s Secret now.

If you have an upset stomach, acid refluxes, hiccups, or diarrhea, call up your homegirl, Galangal, and she’ll be there for you! Chew on a slice of fresh Galangal to help calm nerves or motion sickness, and if you have a burn or wound, she’ll help heal it almost instantly!

You can find homegirl posting up at your local oriental grocery store near her cousins, Ginger and Turmeric. She’s quite the healer and loves immersing herself into curries!


Capers:

A caper’s motto: “tiny but mighty!”
But let’s be real here, Capers have quite the ego – they’re only “mighty” in flavor, and nothing else.

Once upon a time, a bunch of cute lil’ green flower buds appeared on a Finder’s Rose (also known as a Caper Bush) in the Mediterranean. They never really had the chance to become a flower, but instead, they was plucked off the bush, left out in the sun to dry, and then packed into a vinegar brine to be pickled and later consumed. These guys can only be picked individually by hand because of how small and delicate they are, and sometimes, if they’re lucky, they’re allowed to mature to the size of an olive – which are sold in stores as Caper Berries.

These days, Capers are reproducing and their children are growing all over parts of Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southern Europe, Turkey, and California (lil’ bud be smoking some dank bud).

Try eating a caper straight off the bush and they’ll bite right back with their bitterness, which is why the salty brine is necessary to help balance out the flavors.

Remember when I said that Capers are mighty in flavor? Yeah, just be cautious of how many capers you add to your next dish because they can significantly boost your sodium intake easily. Good thing is, they’re low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants! And I know this is a vegan blog BUT if you include red meats in your daily diet, you should eat capers because they’ll help fight and destroy certain byproducts in the meat that are responsible for cancer & cardiovascular disease.

Capers: a lover AND a fighter.

Next time you need to spruce up a nice Italian dinner, like this Lemon Caper Pasta, or Mediterranean lunch, call up the Caper dudes to add bursts of bright, salty, and acidic flavors to your dish!

Capers are usually found in major grocery stores, hanging out inside a small bottle near their best friends, olives.


Dill:

Dill: the Tom Cruise of herbs. He’s good looking with his feathery bright green leaves, he’s independent, he attracts beneficial insects to any garden, and he’s got a whole side of him that no one really knows. Wooow so mysterious, so dreamy!

Dill has been around in the culinary and medicinal world for hundreds of years – that’s right ladies, get yourself a man who can cook AND take care of you. He’s full of Vitamin A and C, he helps evacuate gasses from your body – which in turn, also helps calm down hiccups, hyperactivity, & nervousness – and he’s an anti-inflammatory herb.

The essential oils that Dill carries helps stimulate and activate the secretion of bile and digestive juices, thus boosting the immune system. Along with that, his essential oils also help put you to sleep by helping activate the secretion of certain enzymes and hormones, leaving you in an almost hypnotic effect, which is perfect for those with insomnia.

Dill’s a nice dude, but in my opinion, Basil won my heart. No harsh feelings, Dill. They’re probably hanging out with each other at your local grocery store!


Great Northern Beans:

She’s larger than Navy Beans, but she’s smaller (and grainier) than Cannellini Beans. She’s basically what you make her to be. She’s nutty, smooth, and creamy – find her swimming in soup, drowning in stew, or climbing on top of a tall spring mix salad mountain!

As small as a Great Northern Bean is, she’s a legume packed with nutrients!
One cup equals:

  • 15 grams of protein
  • 209 calories
  • less than 1 gram of fat
  • 20% or more of your daily need of potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese

Beans go through a lot when it comes to them being canned – here’s a cool article showing their entire process – but buying them dried is also a nice, cheaper option. Plus, you can easily pressure cook the beans to rid of lectins. It’s a win-win situation here.

Great Northern Beans: she’s shy, underused, and haven’t quite shown her potential to the world just yet. One day, Great Northern Bean, one day.


Well, that was indeed strange.
Probably even stranger for you to read than for me to write.

I hope you learned a thing or three from this!
And if you’re new to Ingredient Insights, first off, welcome. But second, this isn’t a normal thing – I blame writer’s block and the desire to try something different.

See ya next week!
-Kimberly

 

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