Indian in 7 Indian in 7 by Monisha Bharadwaj

Ginger and garlic are often used together in Indian cooking. To buy ginger that is fresh, ensure the skin is firm, shiny, and pale brown in color. This thin skin can be easily scraped off with a teaspoon.

  • 1 part fresh ginger, skin scraped off and
      flesh chopped

  • 2 parts garlic, peeled and chopped (by volume)

Combine the ginger and garlic. If you are making a small amount, you can grate both or crush them using a mortar and pestle. You don’t need to discard the green “soul” from the center of the garlic; it is edible and any bitterness it has will add to the balance of flavors in the overall dish.

If making a larger amount, whiz the peeled and chopped ginger and garlic in a blender, along with a little cold water to turn the blades, and make a smooth paste.

You can store this paste in the refrigerator or freezer. Put it into a clean jam jar, top it up with oil (any cooking oil) and put it in the refrigerator. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You will find that the oil layer may decrease with each scoop of paste used—just top it up as necessary.

To freeze the paste, either put it into ice-cube trays, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months, or put it into a freezer bag, lay this on a metal tray and freeze it flat. Once frozen, it becomes quite brittle and you can snap off as much as you need for each recipe. While ginger-garlic cubes need thawing, the bits broken off from a flat sheet can be added directly to the pan.