How to Make Green Chili, Ginger & Garlic Paste at Home

There are times in the kitchen when I am in a hurry to cook, but I would need to chop some ginger, garlic, or green chilies ... or require adding one of those pastes real quick.

Everything is available at grocery stores, but provided you have some time on hands, would you want to spend $6.99 for a bottle of garlic paste that you can make at home within $2?  

When I realized I could prepare and store garlic paste, green chili paste, and ginger paste very easily at home, I started making them in bulk without using any chemicals or artificial preservatives, also saving some bucks alongside.

How to Make Green Chili Paste at Home?
how to make green chilli paste at home
§         Wash & chop the stems of green chillies, cut in halves (remove seeds if you wish; I don't) & grind a larger quantity without water, or as minimal water as you can use.
§         Depending on the amount of the green chili paste you get, liberally add few tablespoons of salt + vinegar.  Vinegar is optional.
§         Transfer the chilli paste to a container with lid, cover & store in fridge for a week or in freezer for over a month.
§         Salt helps scoop green chili paste from freezer easily & along with vinegar helps retain the color.
§         CAUTION:  Take care not to touch your eyes during or after working with chilies.  To avoid the burning sensation on your palms – wear gloves when handling too many green chilies; else it stings afterward like crazy!  I really cannot emphasize this enough – it’s very important!  Applying oil on my hands prior to chopping them does not work for me, you may try…else wear gloves, or put your hand in plastic bag; anything but bare palms!

How to Make Ginger Paste at Home?
how to make ginger paste at home
§         Wash & peel ginger, then either use a fine grater, or better idea: chop into chunks & grind a larger quantity without water, or as minimal water as you can use.
§         Depending on the amount of ginger paste you get, liberally add few tablespoons of   salt + vinegar.  Vinegar is optional.
§         Transfer the ginger paste to a container with lid, cover & store in fridge for a week or in freezer for over a month.
§         Salt helps scoop the ginger paste from freezer easily & along with vinegar helps retain the color.
§         Note:  I usually save some ginger to use for making tea; you sure can’t use salty & sour ginger paste for that!   [Update 22 Feb 2013: freezing saltless ginger paste for tea]

 How to Make Garlic Paste at Home?
how to make garlic paste at home
§         Peel garlic, cut the small top part, wash & then either use a garlic presser (time consuming!) or better idea: cut in halves & grind a larger quantity without water, or as minimal water as you can use.
§         Depending on the amount of the garlic paste you get, liberally add few tablespoons of  salt + vinegar.  Vinegar is optional.
§         Transfer garlic paste to a container with lid, cover & store in fridge for a week or in freezer for over a month.
§         Salt helps scoop paste from freezer easily & along with vinegar helps retain the color.
§         Note:  Since garlic lasts for several weeks, I save few whole garlic bulbs in case some dishes (for example Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino or Garlic Bread) require freshly chopped garlic instead of garlic paste.

To make ginger-garlic paste at home:  take 1 part garlic paste and 2 parts ginger paste.

NOTES:
  • Since these ginger, garlic, and green chilli pastes have salt in them, make sure to adjust the salt in your recipes & cook accordingly.
  • Some vegetables, such as cabbage and spinach, require adding salt later, so if you put any of these pastes earlier, the cabbage/spinach will release water earlier & get soggy – so keep this in mind and use fresh ginger/chilies/garlic for such veggies.
  • You can use lemon juice in place of vinegar.  In fact you can use only salt & skip vinegar  altogether (vinegar is mixed so that the color of paste doesn't get dull); I've tried with only salt & it works.  I've also tried mixing a paste with hot oil & stored in freezer, but it didn't give as good result as salt & vinegar.
  • If your paste freezes, hardens, and is not easy to scoop out, it means the salt was not enough.  Add more salt, mix well, and freeze back.  Ideally, you should put 3-4 Tbsp salt for every 1 cup of ginger paste / garlic paste / green chili paste.
  • If you have not put, or do not want to put, salt before freezing the paste - you can freeze small amounts of measured paste as ice cubes & then pop the frozen cubes out & store them in ziploc bag - named & dated.  This way, you won't have to wait until the whole paste defrosts - you can use the small ice-cubed paste quantities as required, right away.
  • I have been saying to grind the paste without water or minimal water because if you cook something that requires putting pastes in hot oil - the paste with water splatters like crazy and then gets stuck to the pan while you are busy dancing around the hot oil or trying to find the lid to your pan.  Yes, speaking from experience.
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