Secret Recipe Club: Pyaaz Ka Masala aka sauted onion paste
|The final product only bears a small resemblance to its original components. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)|
Onions are my nemesis. They make me cry easier than a hammer to the toe or a stake through the heart.
Donning onion goggles, I began peeling. My eyes started to water, revealing a crack in my defenses. However, I persevered and began grating the onions one by one. Half-way through the first one, I realized that the red onions were gaining the upper hand. I was tearing and sniffling like a heart-broken girl.
There’s a scientific explanation for the onion-eye assault, but that knowledge was little comfort. With an onion in one hand and grater in the other, I wept my way through the remaining three onions until they were a pulpy puddle in the bottom of my bowl.
Next, I trimmed and mashed 10 garlic cloves and added about 11/2 tablespoons of pureed ginger to the onion pulp. With a stick blender, I marrying the ingredients in a slurry. That went into a preheated cast-iron skillet.
|The start of the journey, 4 pureed onions, 10 cloves of garlic and 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger. There’s a lot of moisture in there we have to send away. (Tammy Quackenbush)|
It took about 15 minutes for the slurry to expel enough moisture to become a paste. It darkened from a creamy very pale lilac to a deep greyish lilac.
|The process starts as a rolling boil, forcing the water to flee from the pan under extreme duress. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)|
It wasn’t until about the 20 minute mark that hints of carmelization began. Even then, it took 40 minutes for the finished product to emerge.
|Once the water has completely evaporated, this is when the fun begins and a careful eye will make the difference between a flavorful paste and a burnt lump. (Tammy Quackenbush photo)|
The final product created about 1-2 cups of onion paste. It’s a potent paste. I can see this onion paste playing well in Korean meat dishes such as tteokgalbi which already uses a generous amount of onion, garlic and ginger. Just replace the ginger and garlic with a tablespoon of this paste into the hamburger mix and follow the rest of the steps accordingly.
Pyaaz ka masala
Recipe from Ruchi’s Simply Food
2 pounds (1 kilogram) red onions (about 4 large onions)
10 large cloves of fresh garlic
11/2 tablespoons pureed ginger
- Peel the onions.
- Grate the onions and add the ginger puree ginger and garlic cloves mixture to the bowl and pulverize them with a stick blender until they form a paste.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy-bottom pan on low temperature.
- Pour the paste into the skillet. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and let it cook on low heat.
- Initially, the paste will turn a lilac color. After about 20 minutes, the sugars in the onion will caramelize, and the paste will turn brown. Browning adds flavor and color to the curry.
- Once the paste starts to turn brown, continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so. Be careful not to allow it to burn.
- The paste should keep in the fridge for a week or two in an airtight container. The finished paste will have a strong smell.