The benefits of garlic are well-celebrated since time immemorial. In ancient times, people even use it to drive away plagues and evil spirits. In these modern days, garlic has been found by experts to be actually helpful in:
- maintaining cardiovascular health by improving blood cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure
- combating cancer by removing heavy metals in the body
- preventing diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease with its high antioxidant content
- strengthening the body's immunity and even reducing the severity of the symptoms of flu and colds
- reducing fatigue and regulating energy levels
The thing with this spice is that it can be a little tricky to work with in order for you to get these amazing benefits for your health. While you can always mince garlic to release its health-enhancing enzymes and eat it raw. It has a very strong taste and pungent aroma that needs some getting used to.
If eating raw garlic is not your thing, what you can do is make sure that you cook garlic in the best way possible. This way, you get the benefits of garlic without having to withstand its rather overwhelming flavor.
There is only one major way to cook garlic wrong and that is to burn it. So the best way to cook with the spice is to make sure that no matter what dish you intend to make, you will not end up with black and burnt garlic. How? Read on.
Cook garlic with a liquid ingredient
Liquid ingredients, whether it is water, wine or sauce, are great ways to save garlic from getting burnt. This is especially when you are making a dish that requires garlic to be one of the first ingredients to hit the pan.
A good example of this technique in action would be in this Skillet Shrimp with Honey Garlic Sauce recipe by Bee of RasaMalaysia.com that we recently featured on our Instagram.
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Notice how the garlic went in first, followed by shrimp just right before the garlic starts to turn transparent. And then the sauce was added just right after the shrimp starts to turn pink.
Garlic adds a pleasant flare of flavor to the liquid components of a dish but only when the spice is not burnt. In return, liquid lowers the temperature in the cookware preventing the garlic from turning black and bitter.
Make & keep a stock of roast garlic
Roast garlic has a pleasant aroma and a creamy texture. It is commonly used as an ingredient in homemade spreads, soups, dips, and marinades among many other things. Another use for roast garlic is with the oil that is left on the baking pan after the roasting process. This oil has a good hint of garlic flavor and it is great to use in stir fry dishes.
While roasting garlic uses an oven, it does not necessarily result in burning the bulbs. First of all, the bulbs are intact so the cloves cook and soften long before they burn. The oil and the foil wrap also add layers of protection that keeps the bulb from getting burnt. In the end, you will most likely get the benefits of garlic when it is cooked in this manner.
Check out Girl and the Kitchen's guide to roasting garlic perfectly.
Know that garlic doesn't always have to go first
Most of the time, garlic is cooked first which often results in getting the ingredient burned. So people would rather opt for artificial garlic flavors or with garlic powder. If you want to stick with real, fresh garlic - you can modify recipes.
Unless you are sauteing garlic, see if you can add garlic towards the middle or the end of the cooking procedure. This way, the garlic gets cooked well enough for its flavors to get infused in the food. And getting the garlic burned will be hard to do.
With all the benefits of garlic and with the tricks you need to cook with garlic better, getting garlic breath will be worth it. Happy National Garlic Month!