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Indian gravy masalas are flavourful sauces made up of onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chillies and spices. These ingredients in their blended form make the base for the gravies to a lot of Indian dishes. But who has time to chop and grind these ingredients every single day. No one. Making these masala pastes of few vegetable ingredients that are staple in making Indian gravies, curries or dals in advance eases the hectic schedules and save a ton of time by grinding and preserving huge batches of these ingredients in your free time.
We really need shortcuts in the kitchen which can save our time and energy on a daily basis. Choose one day a week most convenient to you to prepare these pastes in bulk and store them in refrigerator to facilitate making quick meal with less effort, less mess and in less time.
Tomato puree, onion paste, ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste form an essential part of daily Indian cooking. Well, this is how these can be prepared at home and would last longer without adding any store-bought processed preservatives.
Garlic paste: Take out garlic cloves from the bulb gently without harming them. Soak them in plenty of water for two hours. It will help remove the skin quickly and easily. Peel them off and wash thoroughly. Pat dry and grind them to a fine paste without adding water. You can add little olive oil while grinding to ease the process. Then take a pan. Heat it and add little salt (depends on the quantity of garlic paste you are making) that gives it just a very mild salty flavour. Dry roast it till it changes in golden brown colour. Turn off flame. Add this roasted salt in garlic paste and blend for a minute in a food processor so that it mixes up with the paste evenly. Store this paste immediately in small glass bottles and refrigerate in the coldest section of the fridge.
Ginger paste: Wash ginger thoroughly. Pat dry and chop in small pieces (no need to peel them). Make a fine paste in a high-speed blender without adding water. Add little olive oil while grinding to make the consistency smooth. Now roast little salt in a pan until golden brown. Add this salt in ginger paste and again pulse few more times to blend it well with the ginger paste. Remove the paste and store in small clean glass bottles and store in coldest part of your refrigerator.
Onion paste: Peel off onions and wash them thoroughly. Chop them into medium-big pieces. Heat little olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add chopped onions and cook till golden brown on medium-low flame. Add little salt and saute for two more minutes. Turn off flame and let it cool. Grind them to a fine paste in a food processor without adding water. Store in small clean glass bottles and keep immediately in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Green chilli paste: Take crisp, unwrinkled green chillies. Wash them thoroughly and pat dry. Remove stems and chop coarsely. Grind them to a fine paste adding little salt and fresh lemon juice. Salt and lemon juice act as natural preservatives to keep green chilli paste fresh and its green colour intact. Store in small glass bottles and refrigerate in the coldest section of fridge immediately.
Tomato puree: Take fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes which have less water content inside. Wash them thoroughly and dry. Chop them roughly and put in a pot. Turn the flame on and put the pot on fire (medium-low flame). Cover the pot. As the temperature in the pot increases, the tomatoes will release their liquid content. Let the tomatoes get cooked in their own liquid content. Cook stirring frequently until tomato chunks start to break down and become soft and mushy. It will take 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off flame and let the mixture cool. Then run this mixture in a food processor and make a smooth paste. Run through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds and bits of skin. Store in small glass bottles and keep in the coldest part of refrigerator.
· Do not store these pastes in big jars. Store them in small and clean glass bottles so that you open one bottle at a time and finish it off. If you are using a bigger glass jar to store the pastes, make sure to use a clean and dry spoon every time to take out the required amount. Take out the exact amount of paste you need at one point of time and close the jar tight and refrigerate immediately. It is because, when you open the jar, the paste comes in contact with the bacteria and germs present in the atmosphere, and it will reduce the shelf life of the entire batch and may even spoil it in a very short time.
· Do not freeze these pastes, just refrigerate in the coldest part of the fridge. Frozen pastes become hard to break off and it is also hard to know how much you need for a recipe.
With these precautions, these pastes would last in refrigerator for a week to 10 days. Once you have these masala ingredients ready all the time, you can literally prepare ‘dump to go’ Indian recipes and they will end up having a lot of yummy flavour.
Say bye to exhaustion and cook fresh Indian food every day.