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Help Me Grind My Ginger and Garlic

I'm looking for the easiest way to grind about 6 oz. of ginger and garlic (about 1 1/2 heads of garlic and half that of ginger). I started off pressing the garlic and that took what seemed like hours. I recently switched to blending the paste, but, like blending onions, the garlic doesn't taste right (oxidation?). Also, in order to get it to blend, I ended up having to add too much water.

I have a 9 cup food processor, which, besides being too big, by the time I get a paste, I'm worried I'll be looking at the same off flavors of blending.

Right now, I'm thinking mortar and pestle. I don't want anything too porous, as it will end up sucking up my paste, so no lava or marble. Granite is fine, but I'm hoping to avoid something massive and heavy. I kind of like the cleanliness/weight of the porcelain scientific M&Ps, but the thin pestles drive me up a wall. If I'm working with garlic, I want a pestle with at least the diameter of a large clove. I'm open to iron, but, the pestle has to be wide.

The other concern that I have is that in order to comfortably grind 6 oz. of material, I probably need about an 18 oz. (600 ml) mortar., possibly even larger. I could do the ginger and garlic separately, but, for that much garlic, I still need a pretty big item.

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  1. Mortar and pestle, read this recent thread and decide:


    1. I've always used a food processor for chopping lots of garlic and ginger, but mine is 7c.

      First, I peel the garlic and ginger, then cut the ginger into pieces approx. the same size as the garlic cloves. Then, with the motor running, I gradually but steadily add the garlic and ginger through the feed tube.

      I've never had a taste problem with garlic doing it this way. Onions, no, you don't want to run those through your Cuisinart. But I've done garlic this way for 30+ years any time I had to process a lot of it.

      1. Paste or fine mince? If the former, bushwickgirl is right: big old mortar and pestle with a little bit of salt to act as an abrasive. The white M&Ps are okay for something like long pepper but you need a big one for the volume that you want to do unless you don't mind being there all day.

        You could also use a small food processor to get the mincing action done before switching over to the M&P.

        1. I use this- http://wokshop.stores.yahoo.net/bamgi...

          makes a paste of the ginger, leaves the strings behind. Super fast and easy. I also don't peel ginger.

          For garlic, I make a paste with the knife- chop, salt, press with side of blade or fork. If you don't use the salt, it will take forever.

          1. I use a mini-processor when I'm doing more than just a couple of cloves or garlic. It also does a good job on ginger and some fresh herbs. Very convenient and the little bowl and blade go into the dishwasher so nothing to scrub out. I actually like the texture of garlic chopped this way much better than the way it turns out with a garlic press.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nyleve

              Same here. I use my stick blender with the mini processor attachment.

              1. re: pdxgastro

                Yes, the porcelain graters are very good. I have one and it makes for finely grated ginger, almost a paste, with no need to peel, but it takes some time it you're grating lots of ginger. Another plus with this is no grated knuckles, it's near impossible. I grate ginger on this in a circular motion, rather than up and down.

                1. re: pdxgastro

                  Same one slightly cheaper:


                  I had one of these for years and loved it. I just by my ginger pre-smashed these days. I only use fresh root when I need actual pieces of ginger, like for pad gai king.

                  I grate up and down and it's pretty fast. I can - or used to - grate a couple of inches of ginger in just a couple of minutes.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                    That's about what I paid for mine, bought in a Chinese grocery.

                  2. re: pdxgastro

                    Sam was very much into that. I think ultimately it depends what the texture the original poster is seeking for. A ginger grater will produce a very different texture than say from a microplane grater.


                    which is very different from mortar and pestle

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      From my expereince a ginger grater will give you a less fine texture than a microplane, but it's a very close result. I have a fine microplane and love it for zesting and spices, but it's a bit of a bear to clean, especially something as fibrous as ginger. Mine came with a slide on blade cover:


                      Boy, there's a big selection on microplanes on the market now, one for every grating need ad infinitum.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        In her stir-fry books, Grace Young specifically recommends using a "ginger grater" and against using a microplane when grating ginger for Chinese food.

                        The problem is that a microplane grates too finely - the grated ginger ends up damp in its own juice, which interferes with the stir-frying process.

                        1. re: fadista

                          Well, there you go, and why I don't use a microplane for ginger, although I've tried it. Easier to clean the ginger grater, to boot.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            That was another thing I loved about that porcelain grater. Spritz, swipe, and it's clean!

                          2. re: fadista

                            Right, that is different because of stir frying. For stir frying, you do want some texture and not the super fine texture from a micrograte. Otherwise, the lump of ginger and garlic will go into the wok and stay like a lump.

                            For Chinese stiry fry, actually the best is to smash the garlic and ginger with a Chinese wide blade knife.

                            This is not to take anything away from microplane. I love making garlic bread with it. It is so awesome. Like I wrote above, it really depends on the texture you are looking for.

                    2. it is heavy, but i swear by my thai granite mortar and pestle. most M7P's don;t work well because the pestle is too light to do the work.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: thew

                        I think I know what you are talking about. Those things very massive.

                      2. I use my microplane on both. It's so fast!

                        1. I buy peeled garlic from an asian grocery store and store both my garlic and ginger in the freezer.When ever I need G/G paste , I just use a zester or fine grater and grate the quantity I need .They both fall in fine powder form and ,its super quick.