Fresh gingerroot is a spice added to many Chinese dishes. The tan-colored roots are knobby and look kind of like stubby fingered hands. Gingerroot has a refreshing lemony flavor and a light spiciness. It should usually be peeled before cooking. In addition to its culinary use, traditional Chinese medicine hails ginger as a cure for everything from the common cold to poison ingestion to nausea. Ground ginger is not a substitute because it has a completely different flavor.