19 June 2009

Add garlic and ginger at the end, please

I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: add your garlic towards the end of cooking. I've seen the cost of garlic skyrocketing like everything else in the stores. And, just like everything else, we can find ways to maximise the way we use said ingredient. If it's oils that are costing a fortune (olive, sesame, etc.), we can use them only as finishing oils, and in sparing amounts. With garlic, the magic is in adding it at just the right time to get the punch you want.

If you don't like strong garlic flavour--

Wait a minute. If you don't like garlic, what're you reading this for? Don't use it!

No, I'll be serious now. If you're not a huge fan of the sharp, strong garlic taste, add it in the mid-point of your cooking. Say for example that you're making a tomato sauce or something similar. Instead of sauteing the garlic with the onions, and missing out on having the garlic give any impact at all, just use less than the recipe calls for, and add it after you add the tomato. It's when you cook it in oil that the flavour disperses and weakens.

So now, suppose that you're a huge fan of garlic. Mince it up as finely as you can, and go ahead and add it as close to the end as possible. You'll taste the garlic, and smell it as soon as it gets to the table. In fact, if you want to use the mortar and pestle to grind it down to a paste, and go from there. It'll be all the more strong, and taste all the sharper.

This goes double for ginger. I myself have advocated cooking ginger along with the aromatics, but I've found that it cooks extremely quickly. It cooks even more quickly than garlic! Add ginger at the very last minute possible, once you've grated it finely, and you'll taste it clearly in the end result.