Ingredients: Garlic, Ginger, Onion Pastes

Note: Summertime is all about grilling, cooking and enjoying time with family. For many Bangladeshi homes, it’s the time when people share homecooked meals called dawath, an invitation. I will be sharing some of my favorite foods, as well as highlight ingredients used in common Bangladeshi foods. 

Bangladeshi cuisine uses a lot of textured cooking, adding spices and ingredients in the various steps of the cooking process for unique flavor combinations. All curry recipes utilize spices but onions, garlic, and ginger steal the show in creating the bases for these curries. I create pastes out of these three ingredients to streamline my cooking process. Here is a basic recipe on how to make your own at home. 

Grab a family member, a friend, or even the kids to help peel and prepare the ginger, garlic, and onions. Then grab your blender and get to work. The process may take an hour or two, but it will save you about a month’s worth of time in the kitchen!

GarlicGingerOnion
Garlic, ginger and onion pastes are used in Bangladeshi cuisine. (Picture Credit: Zayd Rahman)

What you need:

  •         1 lb. garlic
  •         1 lb. ginger
  •         4-5 medium onions
  •         2 cups of water
  •         3 empty jars
  •         Blender or food processor

Preparation:

  1.       Garlic: Take about a pound of garlic and peel them. Thoroughly rinse them. Set aside.
  2.       Ginger: Wash the ginger thoroughly. You may choose to scrub the ginger with a vegetable brush to get off extra dirt. Peel the ginger skin. (Optional: If you’re using organic ginger, you can leave the skin on.) Cut the ginger into rough slices.  Rinse again. Set aside.
  3.       Onions: Cut off the ends of about five medium onions. Cut the onion in half horizontally. Peel the skin off. Wash the onions. Cut each half, and then in half again. Cut each of those halves into halves. This will give you eight cubes per onion. Set aside.

Method:

  1.       Garlic Paste: Add about ¼ cup of water to the blender. Then add about half the garlic into the blender. Pulse on grate setting (use according to your blender’s settings) until the mixture looks like a smoothie. Add a few drops of water if the mix is not blending well. Then add the rest of the garlic. Pour into a jar and cover with a lid.
  1.       Ginger Paste: Add ¼ cup of water to blender. Add the ginger in two parts. Add a few drops of water if needed, as above. Pour into a jar and cover with a lid.
  2.       Onion Paste: Add ¼ cup of water to blender. Add the onion in two parts. Add a few drops of water if needed. Pour into a jar and cover with a lid.

All the pastes should last about a month in the fridge. You may also freeze the extra mixture in ziploc bags, and thaw for later use. The garlic paste will eventually turn green due to being in the fridge. Check the pastes weekly to see if they have a foul odor. 

How to use:

Add a tablespoon of garlic and ginger paste to curries. Use 3-4 tablespoons of onion paste to fish recipes in the base for an even texture.

Tip:

Freeze any leftover garlic or ginger chunks. Thaw and blend for future pastes!

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