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Old 18.10.2011, 16:34
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Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I have started cooking more Indian food lately, and I'm getting exceedingly tired of executing "mince garlic and grate ginger and then pound them both together in a mortar for three minutes" when all the recipe said was "puree with a little water".

There's got to be a handy gadget for this. Doesn't there? Something like a coffee/spice grinder but suitable for wet ingredients, or perhaps a small but very able blender?

Help!

(Also, is it cheating if I puree massive quantities of ginger and garlic at once, freeze them in ice cube trays and thaw as needed? Seriously thinking of it.)
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:37
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

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I have started cooking more Indian food lately, and I'm getting exceedingly tired of executing "mince garlic and grate ginger and then pound them both together in a mortar for three minutes" when all the recipe said was "puree with a little water".

There's got to be a handy gadget for this. Doesn't there? Something like a coffee/spice grinder but suitable for wet ingredients, or perhaps a small but very able blender?

Help!

(Also, is it cheating if I puree massive quantities of ginger and garlic at once, freeze them in ice cube trays and thaw as needed? Seriously thinking of it.)
I used to buy my garlic minced and my ginger in paste form, because doing it by hand is just a pain in the tuchus.
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:38
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

... or you could do it my way... ginger and garlic puree in a bottle. from Barkat at Wiedikon; i suppose most south Asian stores would have something similar.

damn.. keinfranzosich beat me to it...
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:45
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I tried to look for something but I keep getting results like 'Nut Chopper' and 'F. Dick Sausage Filler'- it's just too much for me right now !

If you don't already have one, get a microplane grater. Like a bajillion tiny razors, make grating difficult stuff a snap. There are of course garlic presses for garlic, though my chef friends would slap me if they knew I suggested that.

Don't see why freezing pre-prepared stuff would be all that bad, though your vanilla ice cream might taste funny if there's a tray of garlic in the freezer.

Edit- found a good bit on freezing and pickling garlic. Seems you can freeze it, but it really should be minced first and left for 15 minutes before freezing.

Garlic stuff

Last edited by Mud; 18.10.2011 at 16:57.
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:47
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

The fibres from ginger really do get caught in the blades in my experience- so I use my very heavy, large, granit pestle and mortar.

If you'd like some ideas and help with recipes, there is a great website with videos of this very ordinary Indian housewife, in her very ordinary kitchen - showing you all her favourite recipes. Great.

www.manjulaskitchen.com
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:49
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

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... or you could do it my way... ginger and garlic puree in a bottle. from Barkat at Wiedikon; i suppose most south Asian stores would have something similar.

damn.. keinfranzosich beat me to it...
Really? I bought a small jar of pureed garlic from Migros once and it was hideously expensive (can't tell you how expensive as my brain has blocked the memory.)

My nearest Asian shop is in Rapperswil, will have a look and see what they've got next time I'm there.

still hoping someone will tell me there's a (motorized) appliance for this. If I discover I'm out of whole garlic/ginger, I can always send the OH up the village to Migros... emergency runs to Rapperswil are a different story.
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Old 18.10.2011, 16:57
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

Tried to send you a pm MN, but your incoming box is full- maybe a good idea to clear up!

Going to Leicester soon - would you like me to buy you some spices there. (No booze DB, will be right up to our allowance!).
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:00
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I do it once in 3 weeks when I have time.. I mince garlic and grate ginger and store it in a jar that last for around 3 weeks. Good option if you cook indian food more often. You can also use the garlic for other stuff like Pizza, Pasta ...
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:02
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I always buy a big chunk of ginger, peel it and then cut it into 2cm pieces before freezing it. When you take it out the the freezer it grates like a dream from frozen - no stringy bits.

Ken Hom recommended this on one of his TV shows....
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:05
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

Hey Mathnut,

We cook Indian food regularly at home, trust me nobody actually buys and mortar grinds garlic and ginger. As mentioned by others most people use the ginger & garlic paste pictured below. You can also get a bottle of either just ginger or garlic separately:



It's quite cheap and can be found at any Indian Grocery store in Zurich. Try this place, for example:
http://www.aggarwal.ch/

Good luck and happy cooking
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:10
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I wouldn't mince anyting. I would learn to use a sharp knife. All the flavour is in the juice. Garlic can be grated with the fine grater, but not ginger. Believe it or not, you can bruise food.

Some things are suitable to a bashing in the M&P but certainly not ginger.

Sharp knife, learn to slice, dice and chop.
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:18
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

Dont go with the ready made paste. It just doesnt give the same flavour.
I use a hand grater (like http://fl2.shopmania.org/files/images/8917/oxo-hand-grater-good-grip-handle-for-no-slip-use~t_8916074.jpg )
to grate garlic and just finely chop the ginger.
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:21
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

YES, there is an appliance, you can buy a cheap coffee grinder that will do the job, you can also grind roasted spices, which you can store in your fridge for months, ie. garum masala.

I tried to grind Ginger and Garlic, in a 30 - 60% ratio, my problem was that it turned green after a few weeks. i cannot figure out what I did wrong, because everyone does it back home and it has never turned green. Plus you dont have to be a rocket scientist to get the recipe correct!
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:23
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

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I have started cooking more Indian food lately, and I'm getting exceedingly tired of executing "mince garlic and grate ginger and then pound them both together in a mortar for three minutes" when all the recipe said was "puree with a little water".

There's got to be a handy gadget for this. Doesn't there? Something like a coffee/spice grinder but suitable for wet ingredients, or perhaps a small but very able blender?

Help!

(Also, is it cheating if I puree massive quantities of ginger and garlic at once, freeze them in ice cube trays and thaw as needed? Seriously thinking of it.)
Ack! I totally know how you feel MN.

I make pastes myself for SE Asian cooking and moaned to my mum about how much work it is once. She gave me a sharp talking to ("no easy way out if you want authentic cooking!!!") but admitted that a blender is the best alternative to a mortar - even though the older generation like my late nan, would have shaken her head in disapproval - because a mortor does the best job of blending the spices in nicely and you can control the texture of your puree.

And no, its not cheating if you puree a suitable amount for future use (depending on how often you use them to cook though). I do that - just dont tell my mum.

Just dont get those in a bottle if you want the most authentic result. They are all processed.
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:24
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

this one:


Brilliant for chopping everything (nuts, herbs, eggs, onion, garlic etc etc) really quickly and with no mess.
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:28
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

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I always buy a big chunk of ginger, peel it and then cut it into 2cm pieces before freezing it. When you take it out the the freezer it grates like a dream from frozen - no stringy bits.

Ken Hom recommended this on one of his TV shows....
I do the same, but I'm lazier - I just chuck a large chunk of garlic in the freezer and grate it. I suppose that it should be peeled - must start doing this. Isn't it a hassle to grate tiny chunks without losing your fingertips when it gets down to the end?
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Old 18.10.2011, 21:46
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

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YES, there is an appliance, you can buy a cheap coffee grinder that will do the job, you can also grind roasted spices, which you can store in your fridge for months, ie. garum masala.

I tried to grind Ginger and Garlic, in a 30 - 60% ratio, my problem was that it turned green after a few weeks. i cannot figure out what I did wrong, because everyone does it back home and it has never turned green. Plus you dont have to be a rocket scientist to get the recipe correct!
Yep my garlic paste too turned green.. but one of my mom's old tricks is to put in some table /synthetic vinegar while grinding the garlic and it stays good that way for some weeks
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Old 18.10.2011, 22:03
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

I put garlic/ginger into a tiny plastic container the freezer after chopping. I also buy the pre-mixed stuff, but it's got a fairly big percentage of water in it.

I have a 'proper' ginger grater...ceramic one....

Mine is a bit like this but it's rectangular with an open end on it and a small handle, so you hold it like you would a flat vegetable grater or plane...and as you can tell from the video, you end up with a lot of 'waste' stuck in the barbs, but I just rinse the grater with a little water, straight into the frying pan...

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Old 18.10.2011, 22:06
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

Ginger: buy it fresh, freeze it. On demand, put the whole root in the microwave for 20 seconds. Grates beautifully. Put it back in the freezer for the next time.

Garlic: smash with the side of a cutting knife. Chop a bit, and it's good to go.

Zero hassle. Minimal mess.
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Old 18.10.2011, 22:22
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Re: Got to be an easier way: recommended gadgets for Indian cooking

Coincidentally enough, I've just bought the same chopper that ullainga pictured above. It was to replace one (a cheaper make) that I bought a few years ago.

I use it all the time. Usually with loads of garlic, ginger, (dried) chillies and cumin pods; all finely chopped and then dumped in warm oil. It's a great base for an Indian curry.
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