You see it often in Indian recipes…and if unfamiliar with Indian cooking, you’re probably wondering when you missed the memo on ‘ginger-garlic paste’ becoming a generic term.
Well, here’s the secret: there’s a bottle of ginger-garlic paste lurking in every Indian home-cook’s refrigerator (and some like me even keep a handy standby in the freezer.) That’s because many Indian recipes start with a basic process of ‘pan-roasting the fresh aromatics’ namely onion, garlic and ginger, along with whole spices in hot oil.
While convenience remains a convincing reason to have our versatile ginger-garlic paste on hand, it’s difficult to ignore the sheer health impact of this aromatic blend.
Each ingredient is a powerhouse of healthful benefits, but together this duo can pack quite a punch.
Ginger enjoys a near-medicinal status as a well-known digestive aid (read here for the many healing benefits of ginger by Food Matters,) while garlic continues to lead the pack for its cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.
If that ain’t enough, this article by Eating Well mentions how garlic develops its stable anticancer compounds only upon standing for a while before cooking; yet another great reason to keep a bottle of ginger-garlic paste on hand.
Now, unlike the slightly complex blend of warm ground spices in our irreplaceable Garam Masala; ginger-garlic paste, an essential Indian fresh aromatic mixture is pretty simple to put together at home.
Some may add salt to it while others use vinegar or oil to preserve the freshness of this flavorful blend, but all you really need is peeled fresh ginger and garlic cloves in a ratio that works to your family’s taste, blended together in a food processor. Voila, that’s one less step in many an Indian recipe.
Our ginger-garlic paste shown below is simple to make and was part of the post on ‘5 healthy elements of Indian food’. Like any Indian home cook, keeping a bottle of this homemade or store-bought ginger-garlic paste in your refrigerator means you’ll land up using it more often; always on hand to add Indian-inspired flavors to your meal or a great flavor kick to any favorite stew and pot roast.
Homemade Ginger-Garlic Paste
4 oz ginger, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
8 oz peeled garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon canola oil
1-2 tablespoons of water only if required to grind the paste
Using a food processor, grind all the ingredients to a fine paste. Stir the paste while grinding so you don’t land up with bits of ginger and garlic. Based on the moisture content in the ginger and garlic, you may need to add water, don’t add more than 2 tablespoons of water for this quantity.
Store the paste refrigerated in a glass bottle, to use as required in recipes. Ginger-garlic paste can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer for 3-6 months.
Tips for Freezing:
- If freezing, use glass bottles and don’t fill them all the way to the neck of the bottle, leave 1-2 inches for expansion; else the bottle could crack in the freezer.
- Thaw frozen ginger-garlic paste by leaving it in the refrigerator for 24 hours or in a bowl of warm water for quicker thawing.