Kitchen Basics : Ginger, Turmeric & Garlic Paste
Turmeric or haldi as it is called in Hindi is also known as the "Golden Spice" and rightly so. From use in cooking to medicines to the use to haldi at the start of every pooja is common all over India. Whether it is the haldi ceremony at the wedding in the north or haldi kumum to be given to every women when visiting homes, the use of haldi always means prosperity and blessings.
Turmeric has to many medicinal qualities the top most being an excellent antiseptic and it has been widely used in healing wounds by applying a turmeric paste to the wound.
Drank in India since ancient ages the Golden Milk is now a new health rage across the world. Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antiseptic it helps boosts immunity, maintain cholesterol levels, aid digestion, work as a liver detoxifier, help regulate metabolism, blood pressure and its even said to be anti-carcinogenic and we in India have been drinking this since as long as the time goes.
Mostly hadli or turmeric is found in our houses in the form of powder but according to the most delightful way to consume haldi really is the fresh root.
Turmeric plant like many other root vegetables grows from the rhizomes and is a crop with a long grow cycle (I have planted some at home, fingers crossed it grows). Fresh turmeric or kachi haldi like they call it in Hindi is used a lot to make pickles. The grated thoku in the south or the simple brine pickle turmeric with chilli and ginger Uttar Pradesh or the ginger, haldi and green chilli in mustard oil in Punjab and some parts of Kashmir. In Rajasthan they even make a sabji out of kachi haldi which is a much sought after winter delicacy.
What I personally like to do the best with kachi haldi is make an basic paste with turmeric, ginger, garlic and green chillies, which adds a fresh and earthy flavour to my curries and is now an essential item in my fridge. It has all the health benefits of haldi and is tastier and is so easy to make. It has a decent shelf life of about a month when refrigerated and freezes well till about 3 months.
So buy some kachi haldi this weekend and make some of this paste. The recipe can be doubled or halved. If you don't like garlic, simply skip it. This weekend I am making myself another large batch, let me know if you do too.
- Wash dry, peel turmeric, ginger and garlic.
- In a mixer grind together all the ingredients till smooth. Add lemon juice and mix. Lemon juice (one can use 1 tsp of vinegar as well) acts as a preserative, so if you are using it quick you can skip it
- Store in cleaned, sterilized and dry air tight jars.