What kinds of paste do you use/recommend?

publickmanAugust 2, 2012

Tuesday I found a recipe for Tava Chana that I thought looked good, and it called for ginger paste and garlic paste. I always have ginger paste on hand because I use it so much, but I substituted fresh garlic. There are times when only fresh ginger will do, such as for pumpkin pie and certain soups, but most of the time for my purposes the ginger paste works fine. I like it because it does not go bad before I use it and I don't have to grate it. I keep a hand of ginger in the freezer for when I need fresh/frozen.

In this recipe I substituted tomato powder for tomato paste, even though tomato paste was not in the recipe. The recipe also neglected to mention salt, but I added that also, and it had coriander in twice - obviously one of those was supposed to be cumin. For a poorly written recipe, it came out really, really good! I chose it because it did not have cinnamon in it. I get really tired of cinnamon very quickly.

Other pastes that I use include wasabi, Thai curry, and a Japanese lemon-seaweed combination that does not have an English name on the label. I think pastes are a step up from dried spices and spice combinations, although I will say that I prefer the tomato powder to the tomato paste. I have some lemongrass paste, but I never use it because I have plenty of lemongrass in the yard, but I never know when that may suddenly stop producing. I wish I could find a good cilantro paste, but I don't think that is possible.

Anyway, what are your favorites? It's not necessary to list the ones you don't like unless they are so horrible that everyone needs to be warned.


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Lars, I don't use many pastes. I make our own tomato powder again now that we're growing heirloom tomatoes & use that instead of paste (I agree - it's better). I also use anchovy paste.

I would love to try the ginger paste you use. Is it available in regular grocery stores or Whole Foods? Or, do you have to go to a speciality store? Brand?

There is a cilantro paste available. I remember getting an email ad for it about 1-1/2 years ago. They have basil, cilantro, and a couple others. I don't remember the name - only that it's located in the produce section. I have trouble growing cilantro - it bolts just about the time I want it for salsas & the darn stuff reseeds all over our yard but when it's at peak there are no tomatoes.

I'll go Google & see if I can find that cilantro paste.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Tricia, I don't use many pastes either, but the ones I do use I like a lot. I keep anchovy paste on hand, in case I run out of anchovies in a jar. In fact, I used the last of my jarred anchovies this week when I made a Caesar salad dressing.

I generally buy the ginger paste in an Indian market, but you can also find it in Chinese markets, although I have to go a bit further to get to one of those. I put a link to the brand I have below. I use the ginger paste as often in making Japanese soups as I do for Indian dishes, and so I will go through a jar in about three months. The Indian market I go to also sells huges jars of it, but I prefer the smaller ones to keep it fresher.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ginger paste from on-line Indian store

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:03PM
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I also have trouble timing my cilantro harvest with my tomato harvesst, but I jut go to the local Mexican grocery and buy some fresh.

I do use wasabi paste (although I like Penzey's powdered wasabi as well, or better) and I use anchovy paste. I also have a tube of tomato paste in my fridge as I tried dehydrating homegrown tomatoes and making powder and although they spent days in the Excaliber dehydrator (not hours), they never dried enough to powder, they became chewy leather but never powder.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Annie, once your tomatoes are thoroughly dry you have to whizz them in the FP to make the powder.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Lars, Amore Garlic paste is the answer.
Should be in the Italian food section if your store stocks it. Increasingly difficult to find. I buy it by the case on line. Many uses. Makes the best garlic toast mixed with softened butter. Last minute addition stirred into tomato-type juices and tomato sauces, salad dressings. Many uses for the creative cook.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Just two.....anchovy paste and tomato paste. This is the first year I've seen the tomato paste and had to buy it. Not sure I would next time. It's no biggie to put tablespoonfuls of the paste out of a can onto waxed paper and freeze it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I make two kinds of quick sauce.

1. When I get a chance to go to Chinatown for a meal, I sometimes order a dish of "Plain boiled" chicken. Doesn't sound appetizing at all? But that is one amazing classic dish. The chicken is always true free range, and done to absolute perfection. Almost like from a sous vide cooker, just a tiny bit of pink near the bones. Because it is free range, there is no fat under the skin. The skin is of crunchy texture. The meat is very chicken-y and tender. It always comes with a dish of sauce which is nothing more than oil, ginger and scallions. A very enjoyable dish. The sauce couldn't be easier to make, Oil, ginger, scallion and a little salt. I make that a lot in a coffee grinder. Sometimes I add a little sesame oil. Sometimes I put a little white wine in it. A beautiful green sauce.

2. Black garlic sauce - also easy to make. Black garlic, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. It goes well with just about any dish, on salads, even on pizza. Sometimes I add a few leaves of mint or whatever. A dramatic black sauce.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:43PM
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The only pastes I use are tomato paste, Turkish red pepper paste, and anchovy paste for rare occasions when I don't have any jarred anchovies.

I've purchased the tomato paste from Italy in a tube but like jasdip, don't find much difference from the canned kind. I also freeze tablespoon sized blobs of it and the red pepper paste.

The pepper paste comes in jars and is available in hot and mild. It has a short shelf life but a small amount can give a depth of flavor to marinades and sauces. I buy it at the middle eastern market.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Tricia, I tried that. It just clumped up in the container and was never even close to resembling powder. One batch of tomato slices spent nearly three DAYS in the dehydrator and still wasn't powder. It's all much closer to fruit roll ups than powder.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Annie, it depends on the maximum temperature of your dehydrator. I use mine to turn leather into crispy fruit chips, which I like better than leather.

In your case, just use your oven to do the final drying to crispy chips, and blend the chips into powder.

I make my tomato powder with tomato paste with no skin and no seeds. Using paste, you can add all kinds of seasonings.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 7:38AM
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I'm going to look for the Turkish red pepper paste - I have some Korean chili paste, but I think the Turkish paste will have a different flavor.

I also have the "Black Bean Garlic Sauce" (Lee Kum Kee brand) that is very salty and also too lumpy to be a paste, although I sort of use it that way. One of the Japanese pastes that I have is called "Yuzu Koshou", and it has an unusual citrus flavor, I guess from the Yuzu. Now that I know what the Yuzu tastes like, I might buy a Yuzu tree - I do like the flavor, and it is very distinctive and different - about as different as lemons are from oranges.

I have another Chinese condiment called "Vegetable champignon" that is a bit thinner than a paste, but otherwise very similar and almost as intense. It has a unique mushroom flavor that enhances wood-ear mushrooms and tastes very good in soups. It's made in Taiwan instead of China. The Lee Kum Kee sauce is from Hong Kong, which is now China.

Since I have two garlands of garlic, I will not be buying garlic paste, and I have to say that I prefer tomato powder to tomato paste, even to the Amore brand in the tube. I buy the two pound jars from Harmony House, and I also buy dried vegetables from them, which I find convenient to add to Japanese noodle soups on a whim.


Here is a link that might be useful: Harmony House tomato powder

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:37PM
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I use anchovy paste and several colors of curry paste. I like ginger paste, too. And I was in the Asian market looking for tamarind and they me a plastic container of tamarind paste...I wound up using it more than I thought I would. (I was thrilled to find tamarind pods at Winco and made pad thai with them...once. Way too much trouble.)

I don't have good luck with tomato powder either, Annie. We don't use it fast enough so it loses color and flavor, and it's a pain to powder it as I need it. A couple of years ago I started cooking sauce down to paste in the nesco and drying tablespoon-sized plops. Haven't bought a tube of tomato paste since.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:15PM
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I have ginger paste on hand as well as basil, cilantro, garlic, sun dried tomato and roasted garlic pastes.

The brand name for the basil and cilantro pastes is Gourmet Garden. I keep these on hand for when I just need a tad bit of something or forgot to stop and buy fresh.

I make my own tomato powder and roasted garlic paste. For the roasted garlic paste, I roast 2-3 dozen heads of garlic (sometime more), squeeze out the cloves, mashed until smooth, place on plastic wrap, shape into a 1" diameter log and freeze. Whenever I need roasted garlic, I just slice off a piece.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:05AM
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