While I’ve always been a fan of Indian cuisine it wasn’t until recently that I’ve started cooking Indian food at home. One word: delicious. One more word: spicy. Everyone in Samir’s family has to accomodate my weakling tastebuds. At dinners and holiday gatherings I try to surreptitiously load up on rice to sooth my scorched tongue. “Jen, we made this for you. It isn’t very spicy. Do you like it?” Although my awesome family always makes the most delectable food, “isn’t very spicy” in Indian terms sometimes translates into NEED MORE WATER by white girl standards. I will say, however, that after being with Samir for nearly three years now I have definitely upped my spice intake and my tolerance is far greater than it was when we first met. Even my cooking has some noticeable heat now. Garlic and ginger are staples in nearly every Indian dish but it can become quite tedious to always have to peel and chop. I’m all about cutting out prep work so when I saw that my mother in law had premade garlic ginger cubes in her freezer, I asked how to make them. Turns out, it’s totally simple. I’ve also used this same method to make basil/tarragon cubes with fresh herbs from my garden. These types of cubes are wonderful for cooking standard dishes like dal, but are also great to throw in with scrambled eggs (especially the herb cubes) or a soup. Instant flavor, no chopping required. Adrak (ginger) and lasan (garlic) paste can also be kept in an air tight jar in the fridge for about a month or so. Spoon out as needed
what you need:
- equal parts of garlic and ginger
- pepper(s) of your choice
- olive oil
- a high speed blender
- empty ice cub trays
Put an equal ratio of peeled garlic gloves to peeled, chopped ginger chunks into a high speed blender. Add a jalepeno or serano for spice. You can add only half of a pepper if you are making a smaller batch or do not have a high spice tolerance. If you like spice, just throw the whole pepper in without deseeding. Add about 1tsp. of salt, about 1 tbl. of olive oil (adjust for larger batches) and half approximately 1 cup of purified water to be used as needed for blending.
Turn blender on low, gradually increasing speed until everything is mashed together in a smooth consistency. You may need to add more water if the paste is too thick and is not blending well as a result. You can see how much water I added in the photo below, I only needed to add about another tablespoon.
This is the right consistency for your paste. You can use it just like this stored in an airtight container in the fridge if you don’t want to freeze into cubes. If you want to freeze, just spoon the mixture into clean, empty ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop them out and store in a ziploc baggy. When you are ready to cook just grab a cube from the freezer, and let it dissolve over the stove with a little oil. Super easy.
I ended up with garlic ginger hearts because my mum got me heart shaped Ikea ice trays! I’d say each cube is about 1 tablespoon yield and I had 29 cubes. Happy cooking.