November 20, 2010

Garlic & Ginger Paste: The Real Deal

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Garlic and ginger paste is crucial to Indian cooking, particularly south Indian cooking. While many other cuisines around the world use fresh garlic, Indian cooking takes it up a notch by including grated ginger as well. The zing and almost spiciness of fresh ginger compliments the aromatics and depth of flavor of garlic. Your dishes will be severely lacking without them but please, if there's just one thing you do when it comes to cooking, MAKE THIS YOURSELF.

I know you can buy pre-made pastes but that'd be akin to throwing in a couple sweaty socks into your dish because really, thats what they taste like. I know because I've tried it (buying pre-made paste, not the sweaty socks). With the jarred stuff, the flavors are so off, so skewed, so chemical that it'd be better to avoid it in the first place.

Not only does the fresh, real stuff taste so much better, it ends up being much cheaper than a small jar of the gross, sweaty sock paste. Sure, it may take a few minutes to do, but it'd be so worth it. Even if you're not a fan of ginger in your food, then go ahead and do garlic only but please, whatever you do, avoid the pre-made paste!

Homemade Garlic & Ginger Paste

amount of each varies, but stick to a 2:1 ration of garlic to ginger, as the ginger has a stronger taste and a little goes a long way

1. peel garlic cloves (can be made easier by soaking in warm water for a while before) and rough chop in half.

2. peel ginger (the skin peels off like a dream by simply using a spoon) and chop into 1/2" pieces.

3. Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth. You can add some water to help things along. Imediatly store in a labeled jar.

(Note: depending on your ratios, the mixture may turn a slight green color from oxidization. No worries, its still safe to use! I store mine in the fridge, but my mother doesn't and hers has also always been fine at room temperature)


  1. We make garlic/ginger paste too! We freeze it though. Once the paste is made, we freeze them in icecube boxes, to make pieces for easy use. Then once it's frozen in to icecube molds, we put them in a ziploc bag and put it in the freezer, and take pieces out as needed. It lasts for monthss!! =)

  2. I try cooking arabic food with garlic paste and it smells and tastes nothing like garlic!! NEVER again.. however I dont make paste and keep it in a jar, I just do everything from scratch whenever I need it in my cooking.

    Oh my gosh!!.. I just remembered. I have the easiest way of peeling garlic wallahi its sooo easy. Just take a meat tenderizer or with the back of your knife give the garlic glove a good wack against the chopping board. The peel slides right off! Try it! its fun too. :D

  3. I use sweaty sock paste when I can't be bothered to peel my own garlic and ginger. Found it tasted ok! Mind you I use separate jars of grlic and ginger, not ready combined. Will try making and freezing my own soon though. :)

  4. Muslimah93: good idea!

    Sarah: Thanks for the garlic peeling tip, it does sound fun! ;)

    UmmIbrahim: hehe, maybe Saudi sweaty sock paste taste better than the american version?

  5. What about the ratio? I think my mother in law told me 2:1 ratio of ginger to garlic. Do different regions have different ratios? Maybe that is why her's is always green?

  6. UmmSumayyah, in the recipe I posted I noted a 2:1 ratio of garlic to ginger because I feel the ginger is stronger than garlic and can get too overpowering. But its all about personal preference! Mine turns green too!

  7. I agree, the smelly sock version isn't the same. I'll trythis soon inshallah

  8. Salaam alaykum,

    Always make my own paste as well. It is lot of work but it keeps for longer time alhamdulillah

  9. Walaikum Salaam Umm Mini, yes you're right, it can be kept longer than the store bought, even if the color changes (which is normal for the homemade stuff!)

  10. Salaam! I make this all the time... One tip that I have is that adding some oil (vegetable or canola) to the paste at the end helps prevent it from turning green... Also, you can buy pre-peeled garlic at sams club or costco for really cheap too (helps save time!).
    I hope that helps!


Tell me what you think! As always, feedback and reviews are appreciated...happy cooking!