Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Give your dishes Asian flair in a pinch with these freezer-dwelling pestata pucks!
To skip to the printable recipe, click here.
If you read my Mirepoix Pestata Pucks post, you know that "pestata" is a term we picked up from Lidia Bastianich (by way of religiously watching Lidia’s Italy) back in the day. Basically, a pestata is a finely minced mixture of aromatic flavor-builders like onion, garlic, etc. These mixtures are often sauteed to form a yummy foundation for sauces, soups, and all sorts of delicious dishes.
We like to make big batches of pestata and freeze portions to whip out at a moment’s notice. Asian pestata pucks are one of our favorites. A mixture of garlic, shallots, and ginger, these versatile flavor bombs are amazing in cauliflower rice, mint chutney, Vietnamese chicken wraps, and pretty much anything Indian-inspired.
While I prefer regular-sized muffin pans for freezing mirepoix pestata, I generally use mini muffin pans for the Asian blend. The smaller pucks allow more versatility for recipes that just need a little of these more assertive flavors. Filling the cups of a regular-sized muffin pan about ⅓ full is definitely an option as well, but these thinner disks tend to be a bit more fragile and may break up a bit during storage.
Whichever size you choose, go for silicone. These floppy pans make it super easy to pop the frozen pucks into a freezer bag. Just remember to place your silicone pan on a baking sheet before filling for easy transfer to and from the freezer.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use these little gems:
Throw a frozen puck straight into the blender or food processor with mint, cilantro, roasted jalapenos (skins, stems, and seeds removed), lime juice, and a little oil to make a great mint chutney.
Toss a couple pucks into the slow cooker with chicken, canned diced tomatoes, bell pepper strips, and a good amount of your favorite Indian spice blend, and stir in a can of full-fat coconut milk when the chicken is cooked through for a no-fuss curry.
Coat a large cast-iron skillet with a little cooking fat and add 1 puck per lb of cauliflower rice, along with any desired seasonings. Bonus: add an extra puck and a package of shredded slaw mix to the skillet and finish with diced bacon, scrambled egg, and a healthy splash of coconut aminos for a paleo take on fried rice.
Here's what you'll need:
4 large shallots, coarsely chopped
3”x1” section of fresh, peeled ginger
8 large cloves garlic
Here's what you'll do:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process till finely minced and well-mixed, pausing periodically to scrape down the sides for even chopping.
Place the silicone muffin pan on a baking sheet for stability. Spoon the mixture into silicone muffin cups, packing down well with the back of the spoon.
Place the pan in the freezer and freeze till solid, about one hour.
Transfer the frozen pucks to a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze till ready to use.
Special tools needed:
For the printable recipe, click here.