Ginger and Garlic Paste Options
Ginger and garlic paste is one of those workhorses in an Indian kitchen. Used over and over, it is a part of the standard building blocks of flavor. You have four options depending on how much time you have:
- Buy a good brand of paste
- Buy frozen garlic, and ginger pastes separately; available in most grocery stores
- You can make your own ginger garlic paste
- Make ginger and garlic purees each time you need them for a recipe
I like to make my own ginger and garlic paste, so I will walk you through my recipe. I have found that most cooks use an equal amount of garlic to ginger, though if you prefer a more front and center flavor of one over the other, feel free to change the quantities. Also, some recipes use slightly different amounts of ginger to garlic, but I find that curries (masalas) are forgiving and equal measures for most recipes work out just fine.
I have added small amounts of 4 different ingredients that will help keep the paste fresh longer, which is helpful if you choose not to store it in the freezer: salt, oil, turmeric, and vinegar. Even with these additions, your own homemade ginger garlic paste will be far superior to anything you can buy.
If you are short of time, I think there is no shame in purchasing a good brand of ginger garlic paste, and you may find the difference in flavor is a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to have this frequently used paste, without the effort of making it. If you do use a store-bought paste (I like the Asian Kitchen and Shan brands), make sure you always use a clean spoon each time you use it. In a conversation with Laxmi customer service, they say their ginger garlic paste is good for three months after opening if kept in the refrigerator. If the paste develops any off odors, flavors, or colors, it should be discarded.
Depending on where you get your information, a 1-inch piece of ginger equals anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. To make matters even more interesting, older ginger will be spicier than young ginger. Happily, for curries, if you are off slightly, it doesn’t really matter.
Here are some equivalent measures for the ginger and garlic:
1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1-inch piece of ginger = 1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger = 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger paste
See the Notes below before you cook.
Ginger and Garlic Paste ~ Homemade
- 1 cup garlic cloves ~ Peeled. Purchased peeled garlic saves lots of time
- 1 cup ginger ~ Peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sea or table salt ~ Substitutions
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric ~ Optional
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil ~ I prefer avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar ~ Optional
- Gather your ingredients.
- Wash ginger, dry carefully, peel with a spoon, and then coarsely chop.
- Peel garlic cloves. See Note below for ideas.
- Into a blender, add all the ingredients and blend to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as needed. If your blender needs more liquid in order to process properly, add an additional tablespoon of oil.
- Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, or spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze.
- You will get a little over 1 cup of ginger garlic paste.
- Any added moisture will increase the possibility of spoilage; make sure both ginger and garlic are as dry as possible before blending
- Find the freshest garlic possible. If there are any green shoots, remove as they tend to be bitter.
- I find peeling garlic a quite unpleasant task, but here are some methods to try:
- Place separated garlic cloves in a bowl with a lid, or top with another bowl of the same size, or hold a plate over top and shake vigorously ~ this has never worked well for me, but others swear by it. Including Martha Stewart!
- Soak garlic cloves in water for 10 to 15 minutes, to loosen the skins
- My current favorite trick is to microwave the garlic for a minute, then in 10-second increments, if needed until the peels loosen.
- Or best yet, buy peeled garlic cloves!
- If your ginger is young and has tender skin, you don’t need to peel it.
- Ginger will keep in the freezer for several months and you can grate it frozen. I wrap it in a paper towel and then put it in a ziplock bag to store.
- Turmeric and vinegar are added to increase the shelf life of homemade ginger and garlic paste. Omit if you will be using up quickly or storing in the freezer.