Whether I’m looking to spice up my sushi dinner or whip up an anti-inflammatory peach smoothie, chances are you’ll find me reaching for the ginger. The versatile spice works well with basically any kind of food, from spicy, savory Indian cuisine to drinks and desserts with a subtle bite (hello, gingerbread).
Of course, ginger also has a long list of health benefits, too. It promotes overall health and vitality when used regularly, says Rachel Gargiulo, a certified nutrition consultant. “Besides the obvious perks of relieving nausea and digestive upset, ginger also has a plethora of medicinal properties, such as fighting the flu and the common cold, combatting pain, and lowering blood sugar levels,” she says.
The big downside of ginger: It’s such a pain to use on the reg. Fresh ginger tastes incredible, but when was the last time you peeled one? It’s a huge time suck. And since most recipes don’t call for more than a few tablespoons at a time (far less than what’s in a typical root), it’s really easy to waste.
Lucky for you, there is a culinary trick—that is, blending up a batch of ginger paste—that makes cooking with ginger super simple.
Why you should make and store your own ginger paste
Ginger paste sounds fancy, but it’s just fresh ginger root that’s been ground up and mixed with oil to form a paste. It only takes a few minutes to mix up a fresh batch at home (more on that in a sec), and those few minutes are a worthy investment that will save you time in the long run—much like your Sunday meal prep ritual. Instead of peeling and chopping ginger every single time you make cauli-rice stir fry, just whip out your ginger paste from the fridge, toss it in with the rest of your ingredients, and you’re GTG.
Yes, you can also buy ginger paste at the store…but why pay $5 for something that you can make in just a few minutes for way, way less than that? The freshness of your homemade concoction is well worth the (minimal) effort it takes to prepare.
How to make ginger paste in 2 minutes flat
Gargiulo recommends the following quick and easy ginger paste recipe. It makes one and a half cups of ginger paste, which you can store in the refrigerator for up to a month (or longer, if frozen).
- 1 pound fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped into pieces
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil (e.g., avocado oil)
- 1 splash water
- Combine ginger and oil in a blender and pulse until the mixture forms a paste. Add more water (a teaspoon at a time) if you have trouble grinding the ginger at first.
- Store your ginger paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator or, if desired, freeze teaspoon-sized servings in an ice cube tray for convenient measuring.
How to actually use ginger paste
Now that you know how to make ginger paste, you can sub it for fresh ginger in recipes that call for it, or just add it into anything that you think could use some ginger flavor (smoothies, soups, etc). Use 1 teaspoon of ginger paste for every 1-inch ginger knob called for in a recipe, although you can play with that ratio to your own personal taste.
Still feeling stumped? Here are a few ideas on how to use up your ginger paste:
1. Simplify stir fries
When you come home after a long day on your feet, the hassle of chopping fresh spices and herbs may discourage you from cooking at all—that is, unless you have a batch of ginger paste ready to go.
Try this recipe: Best Stir Fry Sauce
2. Keep fishy flavors at bay
Ginger can help balance out the fishiness of tartar, ceviche, or mussel dishes. Mix it in directly and let the pungent flavor do its job.
Try this recipe: Thai Shrimp Ceviche with Flat Bread Crisps
3. Bake with ease
Instead of mincing and measuring fresh ginger for your gingerbread desserts, substitute ginger paste to make the process that much quicker.
Try this recipe: Triple Ginger Spice Cookies
4. Infuse Drinks
The medicinal properties of ginger make for a healthy, soothing cup of tea, and ginger also goes well in a number of cocktails. Use your handy ginger paste in place of fresh ginger to mix your beverage of choice with no fuss (and no ginger chunks floating around inside your drink).
Try this recipe: Berry-Ginger Cocktail
What are you waiting for? Whip up a batch today and learn to spice up your culinary exploits ASAP.
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