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Garlic (Lasan)

Garlic (Lasan)

Using Garlic in Indian Cooking

Garlic is a member of the onion family that has a very unique spicy pungent flavour, which is very strong and quite harsh when raw. There are many different varieties that differ in size, colour, flavour and pungency. The most common variety is grown in France and has a white papery skin with pink cloves. These cloves are dried in the sun.

Garlic tends to go hand in hand with onions and in many cuisines these ingredients along with tomatoes are cooked together to produce a base sauce. From Italian tomato sauce, Indian masala base and even the Mexican chilli. The pungent flavour of garlic mellows and sweetens through the cooking process. Once peeled it can be chopped, crushed (some people say this makes it bitter), sliced, or even used whole. Many chefs (especially the French and Spanish) recommend that you remove the green germ from the middle of a garlic clove as this can cause indigestion.

Garlic is also known to have cardiovascular benefits and has also been proven to help prevent heart disease.

Top tips:

1. Peel a whole batch of garlic and then put into a plastic box and freeze.

2. You can also whizz up a large amount of garlic and freeze it in ice cube trays then pop out as and when needed. I like to freeze peeled whole cloves of garlic too.

3. You can also buy garlic as a puree or paste which many Indian cooks use or as garlic salt which I love to use for marinades.

In Indian cooking garlic is a one of the key ingredients and with it's two best friends onions and ginger they are cooked to create the base of most masala sauces. It is an essential part of Indian cooking and there are probably only a handful of dishes in which garlic is not used. I usually fry off my onions for a few minutes then add my garlic and brown the two off together.

There are a few Indian religions that will not use garlic in their cooking at all. A substitute for garlic and onion is the spice asafoetida. 

More Information

Have a look at my Garlic blog for more interesting facts.

Garlic Infographic showing the health benefits of Garlic

Infographic provided by Hari Ghotra

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