Ginger is just one of those spices that you can distinguish easily and almost instantaneously alters the composition of your dishes. It has a certain aroma and pungency to it that makes it delectable no matter which way you use it.
There are many types of ginger in India, but none comes close to the might of the Ing Makhir ginger of Meghalaya. What is Ing Makhir ginger? Why is it considered to be one of the best ginger varieties in India? Let us find out.
What is Ing Makhir ginger?
“Sying Makhir” or “Ing Makhir” as it is locally known by the people of Meghalaya is an indigenous ginger variety native to the hilly terrains of Meghalaya. It is scientifically known as Zingiber rubens. This ginger is known to be the best ginger variety in India.
The name Ing Makhir comes from the Khasi words “Sying” which means ‘ginger’ and “Makhir” which means ‘small’. The Pnar people from the Jaintia Hills call it “Ing Traw” which, again, translates to small ginger.
And it’s true actually. Ing Makhir ginger is small, sleek, and not big and bulky at all compared to regular ginger varieties. This particular feature makes it stand out from ordinary ginger. This particular ginger has very thin skin and is known to be very fibrous in nature making it perfect for powdering.
Ing Makhir ginger can be found growing in most parts of Meghalaya, but it is abundantly found in villages along the Assam-Meghalaya border, villages such as Khatkasla and Sahsniang, Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.
As mentioned above, this potent ginger variety is native to Meghalaya, so it is not readily found in other parts of India. However, the variety of ginger known as Bengal ginger does bear some similarities to Meghalaya’s Ing Makhir ginger although much research is yet to be done.
Ing Makhir Cultivation
The Ing Makhir ginger is an heirloom variety meaning the same seeds and rhizomes have been used to grow this ginger for generations. The farmers who grow Ing Makhir have been doing so for countless generations, and they know exactly what to do when it comes to cultivation of this fine ginger.
Only the superior rhizomes are chosen to be used as seeds for cultivation and the process repeats itself over and over again. The Ing Makhir ginger requires a significantly rich soil to thrive and a moderate supply of water.
The sowing seasons usually start from April-May and once the land is cleaned, tilled, and flattened, the ginger is planted and left to do its thing. The harvesting period ranges from November-December.
So, what makes this ginger special compared to the other types of ginger in India?
What makes Ing Makhir ginger special?
The Ing Makhir ginger has been used by the people of Meghalaya for a long time now and to this very day, people attribute its might to be one of the best ginger varieties in India, if not the world. From traditional healers to home cooks, this potent ginger is known to all.
What makes Ing Makhir ginger special has to do with its accentuated chemical properties, more specifically the gingerol content. Gingerol is the chemical component present in ginger which is responsible for its medicinal properties such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Ing Makhir ginger is known to possess a higher concentration of gingerol which renders it quite beneficial in terms of health benefits.
Another important aspect which makes the Ing Makhir ginger superior to regular ginger is the fact that it is considerably more rich and potent and extremely fibrous in nature. The fibrous nature of Ing Makhir makes it perfect for powdering and one whiff of this potent ginger is enough to tickle your senses.
It is this rich and potent nature of Ing Makhir which makes it an essential in traditional and more recently modern medicine.
What are the health benefits of Ing Makhir ginger?
Just like the regular ginger variety, Ing Makhir has its own share of health benefits. Listed below are just some of them:
- As a result of its high gingerol content, Ing Makhir is known to possess excellent antioxidant properties. If you’re not familiar with antioxidants, they are chemical compounds in the body that inhibits oxidation and protects the cells from getting damaged.
- Apart from antioxidant, Ing Makhir is also known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties which helps treat inflammation in the body and aids in reducing joint pain.
- It is also known to possess antimicrobial properties which helps ward off disease causing bacteria.
- Ing Makhir ginger is also known to be quite effective in aiding digestion and digestion related ailments. In fact, traditional Meghalaya healers have been using Ing Makhir as an effective ingredient in treating stomach problems in babies for years now.
- It is also known to help alleviate nausea symptoms.
Ing Makhir Uses
“How do you use this ginger?”
Well, pretty much in the same way you’d incorporate any regular ginger into your recipes and remedies. Ing Makhir is still a ginger, but a much more rich and potent one at that.
When it comes to using Ing Makhir for culinary purposes, it can be a bit tacky to handle it as a result of its highly fibrous nature. Hence, more often, the powdered form is used for cooking as you only need a small amount to achieve the same aroma and potency as you would with a regular ginger variety.
In Meghalaya, the Ing Makhir ginger is used in a very special local side dish known as Tungrymbai. This local chutney of sorts is made using fermented soya beans, and so naturally it will be acidic. Ing Makhir is used to neutralize the acidity of the fermented beans and give the dish an added kick.
Ing Makhir, slowly gaining recognition
Though people are still unaware of Ing Makhir ginger and its might, this potent ginger is well on its way to being recognized as one of the best ginger varieties in India.
Even today, a fraction of people have started paying close attention to this ginger and pioneers of authentic herbs and spices like Zizira are doing the best to make sure the rest of India gets its hand on this untapped ingredient from Meghalaya.