These light, coconut pancakes are the perfect vehicle for a rich sauce
I love taking on recipes when I have no idea how the final product will taste, and that was the case with jiāng zhī zhuàng nai in my “5 Surprising Uses for Ginger from Around the World” episode. This ginger milk curd was phenomenal; it is similar in texture to panna cotta, but the flavors were spicy and milky! I also felt like an accomplished scientist once I got the right consistency, which always makes for a fun cooking process.
This jiāng zhī zhuàng nai recipe comes from Tingwei, who resides in Berlin, Germany but is originally from China. Made from ginger, whole milk, sugar, and milk powder, this simple dessert doesn’t take long to make. It is extremely popular throughout China, though it originated in a town in Guangdong Province. Today, it is one of the most popular desserts in Cantonese cuisine.
The name “jiāng zhī zhuàng nai” translates to “ginger juice bumping into milk,” which hints at the cooking process: Ginger and milk proteins have a maximum reaction at 70 degrees Celsius, condensing to form a solid curd. You can order this in Cantonese restaurants or dessert shops and have it made fresh for you in just a few minutes! Tingwei grew up in the northern part of China, so when she first heard about it, she was fascinated. She loves the flavors and texture of jiāng zhī zhuàng nai, and she highly recommends it during wintertime or if you’re experiencing any discomfort in your stomach. Interestingly, the dessert warms you and soothes the stomach!
Tingwei recommends that anyone who makes jiāng zhī zhuàng nai experiment with ratios and temperatures since everyone’s kitchen is different. However, mine turned out beautifully in a matter of minutes! I didn’t know what to expect, but the smooth, soft texture made way for beautifully balanced flavors of ginger and sweet milk powder. I used coconut milk powder, which came through deliciously.
If you are in need of a comforting, unique dessert, jiāng zhī zhuàng nai is the way to go. Make sure that you allow the ginger starch to settle with the other ingredients in the mixing bowl, as this helps everything coagulate beautifully. You’ll feel like an accomplished scientist and a skilled baker all in one!
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