Ginger-chili paste is another basic skill for becoming an expert in Indian cooking. It is used all across India, especially in South Indian cooking, but all over the subcontinent. Not everyone uses it, but in my Gujarati household, since ginger and chili is such a frequent flavor combination, it was something we always had on hand. It is just an important overall time-saver to keep a jar of this paste in the refrigerator.
About this Recipe
Ginger-chili paste, known as adu marcha in Gujarati or adrak mirchi in Hindi, is primarily a convenience. If a recipe calls for ginger and chili, it can be a serious time-saver to just take a spoonful of the paste, saving the step of mashing, grating, or chopping.
Ginger-chili paste is an essential ingredient in many Gujarati households, and to me, it fits in naturally with the cuisine. In my house, we love chilies, so my mom and Grandma used them a lot. My mom taught me to make this paste because she used it often. Many Gujaratis shun onion and garlic, leaving the ginger and chili combination an important source of flavor.
This pre-prepared paste makes many Gujarati essentials from Dhokla, to Handvo, to different shaaks, quick and easy to prepare. I personally just enjoy cooking a whole lot more when I don’t have to do as much prep work, such as chopping or grating chilies and garlic.
Ginger – As a starting point, I aim for equal parts ginger and garlic, but this must always be adjusted depending on the spiciness of the chilies.
Chili – you can use any green chili you like for this. You will want to adjust for spiciness and to your own preferences. I most often use serrano chilies, but might use jalapenos or thai chilies if that is what I have on hand.
Oil – use a neutral oil such as avocado. Oil helps carry the flavor of the chilies since capsaicin is oil soluble.
You can make this with any of the following equipment:
- Mortar and Pestle – the most traditional way. This would be how my mom and grandma did it before switching to a blender.
- Blender or Handheld Blender – I like to use a handheld blender for smaller quantities. A full countertop blender can require a large batch for the blades to catch the ginger and chilies.
- Microplane – if you are making a small quantity, a microplane can be the simplest way to make this.
- If it is too heavy on ginger or chili, you can always adjust and blend again
- Pay attention to the spiciness of your chili and pungency of your ginger and adjust as needed
Ginger-chili paste can be stored for about a week in the refrigerator. Although it is generally not recommended to keep it longer than a week in the refrigerator, it can last much longer. For longer-term storage, you should freeze it.
- Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Dividing the ginger into one-inch squares will give you about a teaspoon. The thickness should be about 1/3 of an inch or slightly less.
Ginger-Chili Paste (Adu Mircha)
- 200 g ginger
- 200 g green chilies
- 3 Tbsp neutral oil
- Salt to taste
- Splash of water
- Clean and roughly chop the ginger and green chilies.
- Add ginger, green chilies, oil, and water to a blender. Blend until a paste forms, adding water as needed to get it to blend.