I don’t know about you, but I use a lot of garlic when I cook for myself. If I can, I put it in everything. At Chinese restaurants, I’ll heap minced garlic in the saucer, pour soy sauce over and eat with rice. Here are some of the reasons why I try to eat as much garlic as possible (both cooked and raw):
Benefits of garlic
- Natural flavour enhancer – I try not to use artificial flavouring in my cooking e.g no MSG. Though I don’t think MSG is harmful per se (Read: Is MSG really bad for you?), but my body can surely derive more nutrient from natural flavourings like herbs and garlic.
- Health benefits – Garlic is not just food, it is also a medicinal plant used in many traditional medicine.
- Prebiotic food – Garlic is a prebiotic, a food that helps increase probiotic. How? Garlic feeds probiotic and bad bacteria are unable to eat them (Read: How your gut bacteria might be making you fat)
How to add more garlic in your cooking when you’re busy
The problem with garlic is that it takes a lot of time to peel. In my book, Malaysian Meals In 30 Minutes, I suggest peeling them ahead and put in containers. This is something that I practice.
However, I admit that it’s not the best solution. If you don’t use it soon enough, garlic can oxidised and turn yellowish. The flavour won’t be as strong too. So if you have the luxury of time for freshly peeled and minced garlic, please do it.
But when days are too busy, if I don’t have essential but time-consuming ingredients such as garlic prepared, I would be less motivated to cook and just reach out to instant noodles.
A better solution will be making frozen minced garlic. What is that? Mince garlic, stuff it into ice cube tray and freeze! Though it takes a little more time, the benefit is that its freshness is preserved.
Prep time: 20 minutes
YOU WILL NEED
Garlic x 5 – 6 garlic (about 180 g)
Ice cube tray
Knife & chopping board
1. Peel garlic, wash and mince them finely in a chopper
My favourite way is smacking cloves of garlic with a cleaver. The skin will loosen and it’ll be very easy to remove. As we will be mincing a rather huge amount of garlic, I use a manual chopper to make it easier. I simply put peeled garlic into it, give it a feel pull and they’ll be evenly chopped.
2. Scoop minced garlic in ice-cube tray and freeze
Scoop minced garlic into ice-cube tray. I find that each cube holds about two teaspoons of garlic. It’s a good amount for stir-fry.
4. Remove cube from ice-cube tray and transfer to a freezer-friendly container
Transfer into a freezer friendly container. I place a plastic sheet between them so that they won’t stick to each other. When you need garlic in your cooking, just grab a cube from it!
- I believe it’s best to freeze it overnight so that the cube with be intact without flakes of garlic falling off it. As I wanted to get things done with minimal time, I froze it for only 4 hours. While its still a decent cube, but its not as strong/sticky as I would like it to be.
- Just remember to clean the tray well so there’s no residue and will not leave an undesirable smell in your ice cubes (garlic in cold beverages doesn’t sound too appealing to me!).
- A better way to preserve the garlic is to cover garlic with oil; this will reduce oxidation. (I intend to use it up soon and would rather do without the oily cube-tray, I omitted it).
Garlic with olive oil cubes
What do you think of this kitchen hack?