"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Friday, 21 December 2012

Mummy's Ginger Wine - A Christmas Special

What better to include in the Christmas celebrations than Ginger Wine. I decided to make Mum's perfect Ginger Wine as our Christmas beverage. The last Christmas I was back home and had a taste of her delicious Ginger Wine. With your eyes closed, it tasted so much like a high-end branded sparkling wine. No exaggerations!

I must say that I truly did not expect this batch of wine to turn out as good as it did. I started it out in October as it takes a good 21 days to  ferment after the initial prep and then another 21 days resting time after straining. Home made wine tends to be sweet and if not made well in advance tastes like a non-alcoholic, albeit festive flavoured beverage. When the wine ages over time, it gives you that extra feel good spirit and serves well with your elaborate Christmas lunch or dinner! You can also add Cinnamon sticks in the first 21 days for extra colour and flavour which compliments the ginger well.

Ginger Wine served
I have seen mum making many a homemade wine to know that you need a ceramic jar (bharani) to store the wine. Storing ingredients to make wine in steel or plastic jars is not advisable. The other reason to use a ceramic jar is that the wine ages well in a cool, dark place and glass jars do not serve this purpose either. If the wine for some reason gets spoiled due to exposure to light or contamination by using unsterilised utensils, then the only option you will have is to toss it out!

Ceramic Jar with wooden pestle

You need:

Utensils: sterilised and dry
  • Ceramic Jar
  • Clean Cloth for additional sealing of the jar
  • A cloth string or ribbon to affix the cloth in place
  • a Wooden Pestle or grinder
  • A large spoon
  • Deep bottomed vessel for the sieving process
  • Deep bottomed skillet for boiling process and later for the burnt sugar process
  • Large clean sieve (remember to buy a new one as sieves can be hard to clean/sterilise perfectly once used for any other food ingredient)
  • Funnel to fill bottles after resting time
  • 2 glass bottles / empty alcohol bottles
  • 1 kg ginger, skinned and washed well
  • 1 kg refined sugar, castor sugar or dermerera or brown sugar
  • Water just enough to cover the ginger in the boiling process (4-6 cups)
  • 1 tsp of yeast (optional)
  • 1" cinnamon sticks (2 nos) - optional
  • 1 cup of sugar for browning, 1 cup of water - optional
The make:

Preparation time: 40 minutes | Fermenting time: 21 days | Resting Time: 21 days

1. Wash the ginger well and crush in the grinder (without water) or using the wooden pestle. It does not have to ground to a paste, just crushed well to allow the juices to be extracted once left for fermenting.
2. Boil the ginger well with water enough to just cover the ginger.
3. Add the sugar and stir lightly. Set aside and allow to cool.
4. Once lukewarm, you can add the yeast if desired and lightly stir. You can also add the cinnamon sticks.  Transfer the ginger and liquids in the ceramic jar. Seal the jar with its original lid and top with a clean cloth and seal with a cloth string or ribbon. This is to avoid any contamination or exposure to light.

5. This is important - Store in a cool, dark place to avoid any exposure to light for 21 days.
6. On the 22nd day, strain the contents of the jar to a large deep bottomed vessel. Transfer the strained ginger juice to the ceramic jar, discarding the strained ginger.

7.  This is an optional step. For added colour, you can take the 1 cup of sugar and place it in the deep bottomed skillet. Heat the skillet on high and stir in circular motion. The sugar browns and melts to a sticky residue. Reduce the heat to the lowest. Add the 1 cup of boiling water and stir once the sizzling reduces. Turn off the flame and add it to the ceramic jar when lukewarm. Lightly stir. Cover the jar back as before and allow it to rest another 21 days.

Burnt Sugar
8. You can strain the contents of the jar once more in the deep bottomed vessel. If you find some burnt sugar at the bottom of the jar, then just pour some of the strained wine back in to the jar and stir out the contents back into vessel. Bottle the strained wine using the funnel.

Your wine is ready to be served on the 43rd day onwards.

All thanks goes to my Mum for all the tips and tricks in making this exquisite wine and her original recipe. Cheers Mum, you are simply the best! Merry Christmas all!

Ginger Wine' all bottled up for Christmas!

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