The sizzle and splutter as a dollop of ginger-garlic paste hits the hot oil and the aroma that wafts through the air: this is like the bugle call that the kitchen is open, the cooking’s on and all’s right with the world!
I don’t know who thought up the ginger-garlic combo, but he/she/they were geniuses or genies, and Indian for sure. In school, we were taught about the concept of zero being an Indian invention and how it is the basis of all maths today. I think it’s high time that some part of history textbooks be devoted to ginger-garlic paste too.
Whatever its history, ginger-garlic paste is the quintessential ingredient in Indian cooking.
But this duo is not all about taste alone. There are sizeable benefits to health that including ginger-garlic paste can gift the consumer with.
The benefits of ginger- garlic
This paste is not just about taste and flavour. There are many benefits to both these ingredients.
Ginger is a good digestive and cures indigestion. It is a good treatment for nausea, especially morning sickness.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with the pain of osteoarthritis which involves degeneration of joints.
In ancient times, garlic was used for its medicinal properties rather than for its pungent smell and taste.
It is good for fighting the ’flu and the common cold. Garlic reduces toxicity
Athletes in ancient Greece used it as a performance enhancer. This is because garlic consumption reduces fatigue.
Garlic can help control high blood pressure.
Both ginger and garlic lead to significant reduction in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Both of these are markers for heart disease.
How to make ginger-garlic paste
All those filled with culinary wisdom will tell you that no chef can rise above the raw material he/she works with. This is the truth of ginger-garlic paste too.
Equal parts of ginger and garlic by weight can be used for making the paste.
The ginger should be fresh and not of the fibrous variety. If it’s too dry, the paste won’t carry the requisite amount of moisture. This is important because you MUST NOT add water to it or it will get spoilt.
Wash the mud off the ginger. Peel it. Wash it clean again, wipe dry and air on a clean towel. Once again, take care that it doesn’t dry out longer than is necessary for the external moisture to air out. An hour or two in the shady confines of the kitchen should do.
The garlic should be fresh too; no dried or discoloured pods.
Here’s how you can make the task of peeling garlic a lot easier:
Break up the heads of garlic and rub a little oil on the pods, and put them out in the sun on a clean newspaper or a bamboo sieve if you have one. After an hour, rub the garlic pods and most of the skin will come off. This is how you make the elements work for you: the sun and the wind will do the heavy work! Now, peel the remaining skin, and you’re ready to grind!
Grind both the ginger and garlic to a paste. Purists insist that they should be ground separately and then mixed. But, I don’t see the harm in grinding them together. You can add a little salt and turmeric powder if you choose to. Just remember the salt when you use the paste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Store in a clean, dry jar/ bottle with a tight fitting lid. No metal containers, please; the paste is pretty acidic. It will keep for 3-4 weeks when stored outside. But you can always keep it in the refrigerator, and it stays for months. Just ensure that the lid fits tight, or you will have a fridge that smells to high heaven and that’s too much of a good thing!
How do you use ginger-garlic paste?
You can use it raw in marinades. You can sauté it in a little oil and use it in any vegetable, meat, fish or poultry of your choice. Ginger-garlic paste adds zing to any dish with its taste and aroma.
Indian pickles too, notably mango and tomato, use generous amounts of raw ginger-garlic paste; the enhanced taste and flavour cannot be described in mere words.
Of course, the process is tiresome. There’s a lot of cleaning involved, and the whole process is so labour-intensive!
What happens if the ginger and garlic that you bought at the market are not up to the mark? Too dry means grinding will be difficult. Too much moisture means that the paste might spoil. What a waste of all that effort! Not to say money and time too.
But how do you avoid it when ginger-garlic paste is something which you CANNOT do without?
The obvious solution is to buy the paste in the market. There are plenty of brands available from the plastic ‘dabbas’ with the sabjiwala (vegetable vendor) to the well-packaged tetra packs and glass bottles in shops. A good brand means that you are getting the genuine thing.
When you are going to skip the manufacturing process and go in for the ready-to-use variety, you must also make sure that the ginger-garlic paste is fresh has no preservatives and is made in the most hygienic of conditions.
At Terra Greens Organic, we are devoted to purity and quality. If you want the best ginger-garlic paste, you don’t have to sweat it out. And you don’t have to worry about adulteration and preservatives. We pride ourselves on our trusted organic label.
You can depend on us for the best and the purest. Just like Mother makes, and Grandmother made.