Did you know that the way you prepare your garlic for cooking makes a big difference to the flavour of the end dish? I have discussed each of the ways I prepare garlic in previous recipes but I thought it would be a good idea to have them all in one post for easy reference. By varying your garlic preparation method, you can give one curry recipe five different flavours.
Garlic paste is what I use most often in my recipes. It’s easy to make. Simply take your garlic cloves and smash them a little. Then place them in a food processor with just enough water to blend to a smooth paste.
The resulting garlic paste is used both in authentic Indian and also British Indian restaurant style recipes.
Add a tablespoon to your marinades or spoon some into your curry sauce for a quite subtle garlic flavour. By subtle I mean you really can’t taste the garlic very much at all but you know it’s there.
Chopped Fresh Garlic
British Indian restaurant style curries usually call for garlic paste but chopped fresh garlic can be used instead. Just like with garlic paste, chopped garlic will lend a subtle garlic flavour to your cooked dishes.
Used raw, it can be added to chunky raitas, pickles and raitas. It’s also nice mixed into side salads and can be quite strong in flavour.
Slow Cooked Garlic Slivers In Oil
Slow cooked garlic slivers are often added to curries to give them a deeper more complex flavour. I use this preparation when I want a garlicky flavour in curries such as Goan vindaloo and chicken chilli garlic.
Preaparing your garlic in this way is easy but you do need to watch the garlic as it cooks quite carefully.
Heat about 250ml of olive oil or rapeseed oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Cut your garlic cloves into thin slivers and then add them to the simmering oil. You want to cook the garlic over low heat for about 30 minutes. Be sure not to brown the garlic or it will become bitter. You want the garlic to be soft and translucent. The longer and slower you cook the garlic, the sweeter it will become.
Dried Garlic Flakes
To be honest, I usually purchase my dried garlic flakes from my local Asian market. The quality is quite good and a lot less work.
That said, making your own garlic flakes is a great way to use up garlic cloves that would otherwise go off. To make them, simply skin the garlic cloves and slice the cloves into thin slivers.
Preheat your oven to 70c (About 150f)
Place the garlic slivers on a baking tray and allow to roast until nice and dry. You’ll know they are ready when the garlic becomes lightly browned and obviously dryer.
Use as they are of process further by grinding the garlic flakes in a food processor to a fine garlic powder.
I often use the dried flakes to spice up vegetable dishes or to decorate a dish in a tasty way.
I use garlic powder in my tandoori masala powder recipe and other spice blends.
Fire roasted garlic
You may have seen me use this method in a few of my recipes. Place the garlic cloves in their skins onto skewers and the roast over a hot flame until the skins are blackened and the garlic is still crisp but tender in places.
These fire roasted garlic cloves can be used to add a nice garlic flavour to curries or even in salads such as my Bangladeshi tomato salad.