5 Substitutes for Garlic Ginger Paste

Ginger garlic paste is an important staple in many different South Asian dishes, and has become integrated into food all over the world. It is simply a spice blend made of garlic cloves and fresh ginger root. Sometimes other ingredients are added to the paste to preserve it, such as oil, vinegar, and turmeric. People who cook Indian food often will find that keeping some on hand is a great convenience.

When garlic is pureed with ginger, it becomes more moist and gains the ability to thoroughly cook without burning. When pureed, ginger loses its infamous stringy texture as it’s made into a pulp. So, garlic ginger paste makes for a useful and flavorful ingredient in many types of cuisine.

If you don’t have any ginger garlic paste, fresh ginger and garlic that has been grated will work just as well. A ground blend of ginger and garlic makes for a good substitute too, as well as lemongrass and citrus zest. Ginger and garlic also have their own individual substitutes. You can also make your own ginger garlic paste from home.

1. Grated Ginger and Garlic

Grating or mincing ginger and garlic seems like an obvious solution, but there are a couple steps to take with preparation to help it imitate the texture of the paste you’ve run out of. Use equal amounts of each, peel them, and grate them both as finely as possible by using a box grater. If you have one, a garlic press is helpful for mincing.

Be sure to catch the juices as you grate the ingredients. After you have grated them, you’ll notice a lumpy concoction left over. This can be discarded as you won’t be needing it for your paste. Stir the two ingredient’s juices together and if it seems too dry, add some water. This method can be used immediately, in the same way you’d use a store bought paste.

2. Ground Ginger and Garlic Blend

If the fresh ingredients aren’t available to you, you aren’t out of options. The ground blends of ginger and garlic will work fine, the only difference is that they aren’t as moist. Because of the lack of moisture, you will likely find yourself needing to add extra amounts of some other ingredients to make up for the dryness.

For this method, the recommended measurements are ⅛ tsp of dried garlic powder for every 2 tsp of the required paste, and ⅓ of dried ground ginger. Combine them in a small bowl, splash some oil into it and mix the powders until they become a thick paste. 

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is often used as a flavoring agent in beverages and food. It can also be made into its own paste. Its taste is minty and tart. Most recipes that ask for ginger garlic paste also require mint, so it can even be a two-for-one deal. It will give your dish a similar flavor that the ginger paste would, only slightly more minty.

Lemongrass has also begun to be used for aromatherapy. When using lemongrass for cooking, it leaves behind a sweet scent that has been used for candles and soap. The scent and flavor of lemongrass isn’t too overpowering, and it can make for a good addition to a recipe that needs something more special.

4. Citrus Zest

Using orange or lemon zest works out as a garlic ginger paste substitute if your hands are particularly tied. It will give the paste a pretty different taste and texture, as citrus zests taste much more tangy than ginger does. But, because ginger paste is versatile and used for many purposes, its flavor complements the zest nicely.

5. Making Your Own Garlic Ginger Paste

It is surely easier to just buy a jar of this spice blend, but store-bought food often contains additives you may not even know about. Thus, making your own will get you an even fresher flavor than buying it from the store, which can make a big difference in your final recipe. This method of making your own garlic ginger paste only takes about 20 minutes.

Many people say that making your own garlic ginger paste results in not only a healthier result, but a more tasty one too. For this recipe, all you need are three ingredients: a splash of oil, ginger, and garlic. It’s recommended to use equal parts ginger and garlic. It may be best to try a test batch and experiment with different amounts to find the taste best suited to your liking.

Instructions

  1. Rinse the ginger under running water. Use a brush to get rid of any dirt, if needed. Gently pat dry.
  2. Peel your cloves of garlic and mince the ginger into tiny pieces.
  3. Add to a blender.
  4. Add any natural preservative (salt, turmeric, oil) to the mixture. This will keep it fresh for as long as possible.
  5. Blend the mixture until it becomes a creamy, smooth paste, it should be pale in color.
  6. Store in a bottle or jar and always use a dry spoon when scooping it out as needed. This can be kept for up to six months.

Substitutes for Ginger

If you don’t have any ginger, there aren’t a whole lot of other things that can exactly replicate the taste, besides plain ginger. If you don’t have ginger roots, dried ginger is fine. Using allspice can also do a sufficient job at working as a ginger replacement. Allspice is a blend of many herbs, including nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper.

Substitutes for Garlic

In a pinch, you have a couple options of things to use in place of the garlic itself. Dried garlic works fine, same with dried ginger, it just doesn’t have as much moisture so you might need to accommodate with water and other ingredients. You can also use shallots in place of garlic.

Shallots are a relative of onions and garlic. They grow in clusters underground, the same way garlic does. They look a lot like garlic, and are in a similar clove shape. But their taste is less pungent than the taste of garlic and more comparable to an onion.

Final Thoughts

Ginger garlic paste is a staple ingredient in many types of cuisine. It’s a pasty spice blend that is very versatile, and works well with complementing a plethora of dishes. If you don’t have any on hand, there are some other options that will still make your end result delicious.