Garlic – part 2

Vampires have no chance in Vietnam: Freshly grated garlic is served in liberal amounts to spring rolls and soups in Northern Vietnam (see Vietnamese cinnamon for an account of the Hanoi style beef soup). The latter is an example demonstrating the subtle effect that can be achieved by adding grated or squeezed raw garlic to a dish that already contains cooked garlic. Raw garlic may also be pickled in vinegar or olive oil. Since some of garlic’s aroma is extracted by the liquid, pickled garlic is usually very mild. Herbal vinegar (see dill) is commonly made with one or two garlic cloves per liter vinegar. images7PS1RILB Usage of fried or cooked garlic is, however, much more common. On heating, the pungency and strong odour get lost and the aroma becomes more subtle and less dominant, harmonizing perfectly with ginger, pepper, chiles and many other spices. Therefore, it is an essential ingredient for nearly every cuisine of the world. Different Asian cuisines make different use of this very versatile spice. Many Indian recipes add garlic in an early phase, and it is fried for a long time together with onion and other spices to provide the basic masala; in the finished dish, the garlic taste is no longer discernible, but has merged totally with the other components. In contrast, although Indonesian and even Chinese stir-fries usually start with frying a few cloves of garlic, a faint garlic aroma persists until serving. because of the much shorter cooking time. In Indonesian cuisine, mixtures based on minced garlic, ginger and chiles are frequently used to season meat pieces before roasting or grilling (see lesser galangale for details and see also lemon grass for the spice paste bumbu). aglio4 Thai cuisine, on the other hand, avoids frying of garlic (which is an essential component of its curry pastes, see coconut), but prefers gentle simmering for spicy soups or creamy curries. Similar custom is found in Cambodia; pastes of garlic, together with chiles, lemon grass or ginger, are added to soups or stews. In the southern states of the US, garlic is also very popular. The small town of Gilroy (in California, not far from San Francisco) claims to be the “garlic capital” of the world; although not quite true, the claim seems plausible to every visitor in August, when the annual “garlic festival” is held and garlic recipes are evaluated. The Gilroy region is also the main produces for the US market (as can easily be smelled at harvest time). Garlic consumption is also high in Central America, where the bulbs are, among others, used for Mexican mole (see paprika) and salsa (see long coriander). Garlic is much less popular in today’s Europe, where it is used only with care, except the Southern European countries. Northerners seem to loathe the faint garlic odour that is emitted by garlic eaters even many hours after the garlic consume. There is no perfect remedy against it, but eating chopped parsley, hot showering and excessive tooth brushing will remove at least the greater part of it. In recipes from North or Central Europe, garlic is normally cooked for a long time to reduce it odour; furthermore, its aroma is thereby sufficiently damped to fit better to the rather mild food of this region. Cooks tend to use garlic together with some Mediterranean herbs (thyme, bay leaves), but also with indigenous spices like juniper and caraway. untitled Cooks in Southern Europe tend to use garlic much more liberally. It is commonly combined with pungent chiles (e.g., Italian spaghetti aglio ed olio, spaghetti noodles with garlic and olive oil); garlic finely cut and suspended in olive oil together with parsley leaves is often served to barbecued fish in Croatia. Garlic is a main constituent of most Mediterranean sauces; some examples using raw garlic were given above. Food prepared with both red or white wine calls for some garlic: Rabbit stewed in red wine together with generous amounts of garlic and bay leaves is a national dish in Malta (Fenek bit-tewm u bl-Imbid), and Portuguese porco vinho e alho (fried pork cubes that have been seasoned with white wine and garlic) is delicious. images3 Of botanically related plants, onion is certainly the most important. Even more closely related is bear’s garlic, whose fresh leaves have some tradition in Central Europe. source: