The long absence from the blog needs a post of its own. And that I’ll save for another day. Today though, I wanted to talk about turning twenty five. Truth is, I have never been a date person. That one can see from my lack of really celebrating blog anniversaries which apparently falls in this month too.
Photos I have taken over this year that didn't make it to the blog before
This year though, I have been thinking. It dawned on me that I was in fact turning twenty five. That I wasn’t exactly in early twenties anymore. An excuse I have often used to get away with a lot of things. An unplanned career being a major one. When I was 22, I was confused. I knew I won’t be lasting long with a corporate job. I knew my passion is food. When I was 23, I was scared. I was sure I wanted to do something in food, photography and things around it but I couldn’t bring myself to take a chance. To some, that wasn’t really a bad idea. I had no experience, no direction, no immediate prospects and I wasn’t probably good enough. But something in me kept telling me that it doesn’t matter. That sometimes being so calculated is not worth it. That I should take a risk. But I didn't.
Couple of months back I quit my job. There were many reasons and it was coming sooner or later. Did I waste the last two years of my life when I knew this is what I wanted? And has the reasons I chose over not quitting then changed two years since? Perhaps not. I still don’t know exactly what I’m going to do, no immediate prospects and I still think I’m not good enough. But I know that some years from now, I won’t have this nagging question any more. Working towards a goal is more important than getting to it - is my new motto.
Since we are talking about starting things over, this ginger garlic and chilli paste makes a lot of sense. Think of how often recipes start off using oil, followed by onions and garlic in most cuisines. The oil you cook in, the length for which the onions are cooked and how the garlic is chopped or cooked, can completely alter your end result. Often, in my own recipes and other Indian recipes you might have come across garlic paste, ginger garlic paste and ginger chilli paste. Since garlic, ginger and chilli form the basis for most Indian recipes, they are often grinded separately or together to a form a paste that can be readily used instead of chopping from scratch every day. Even when they are used freshly, they are not roughly chopped but rather finely chopped to almost a paste. Since the paste becomes a part of the ultimate masala (concoction of onions, spices and tomatoes) which is preferred to be smooth. They are not meant to be highlighted in their individuality but instead should form a part of the greater masala that becomes gravy to the dish.
Ginger garlic and green chilli paste, also called Hara Masala by Bohras is a paste made of ginger, garlic and chilli, mostly in equal amounts. And believe it or not, I think this is a secret ingredient to most Bohra delicacies. The green chilli in the paste gives it a beautiful pastel green hue. And though equal amounts of chillies sounds like too much, it only adds enough concentration of heat in a teaspoon to tingle on the tongue. The mingling of all the three flavors after a couple of days creates a unique blend that's different from using each paste separately.
Ginger Garlic and Chilli Paste
The quantity of how much you make depends on how often you would end up using it. Even though I use it on daily basis, I tend to stick to making a fresh batch weekly. It requires adding more salt and oil to preserve it for longer which is something I don’t prefer to do.
This paste is my favorite marination as well. Makes any meat succulent with ginger acting as a tenderizer. Also a must add in my books for broths and stocks. While using it, keep in mind it already has salt so balance out the salt in recipe accordingly.
Equal amounts of garlic, ginger and Indian green chillies by weight (Or half the chillies if you are concerned about the heat)
Salt to preserve (for about 1 lb of the above ingredients, I use 1 tsp of salt. If storing for longer periods, I recommend doubling the salt and adding 2-3 tbsp of oil.)
Peal the garlic and ginger. Remove the stem of the chillies. Pulse them together in a grinder with salt until a paste is formed. Mix in the oil if using.
Store in clean airtight container in the refrigerator.