The Beginner’s Guide to Black Garlic
One of the latest ingredients taking the culinary world by storm and rightly so, black garlic has myriad applications as an ingredient, or a subtle flavour enhancer.
So, what is black garlic?
Black garlic is what you get when you age whole garlic cloves in a humid environment at low temperatures, until the cloves turn inky black with a sticky texture. The ageing process breaks down the enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness and characteristic heat. The ensuing Maillard reaction causes the garlic to lose the pungency and turn black. It becomes sweeter, more acidic, and earthy.
The resulting flavour is multi-layered with a wonderful balance of sweet and savoury notes, coupled with a subtle tanginess. The fruity, caramelized flavour of the black garlic makes it intensely flavoured, lending real depth to the dish without the pungent odour of traditional garlic.
How to use you ask?
Being rich in umami, and with a tender and soft texture, black garlic can be used in almost any dish. The acrid bite of fresh garlic is not there, so it doesn’t require slow cooking and can be added at any stage of the cooking process. The umami works well with similarly savoury ingredients and although the flavour is concentrated, it is not overwhelming. Adding black garlic to any dish makes it richer by enhancing all the other components.
This intense ingredient is often blended into a paste with other seasonings and spread over red meat. It can also be used as a flavourful sprinkle when mixed with breadcrumbs. Because of its soft texture, black garlic does not overwhelm any dish despite its concentrated flavours. Its earthy flavour goes well with mushroom and other vegetarian dishes too. When diluted, it works well with dressings, marinades, and sauces resulting in gorgeous, silky textures. What’s more, black garlic has found its application in desserts too because of the dark caramel flavours.