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How to Cook Garlic: Different Styles from Around the World

Posted by Matthew Garlic Shaker / garlicshaker.com on

How to cook garlic using various methods around the world is an interesting topic. Garlic cooking methods are used around the entire world to make condiments or as a primary spice. Cooked garlic is a basic component in many dishes on a global scale. Cultures from North America, South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East all consume it frequently. It is the third most popular spice behind salt and pepper. Millions of tons of garlic are consumed every day worldwide. The health benefits of garlic are nearly legendary. The most common part of the garlic plant that gets used in recipes is the bulb. It has a pungent, strong flavor that is undeniable. The leaves are sometimes eaten, but rarely. They tend to be much milder in flavor than the bulbs.

The flavor of the garlic often varies based upon its methods of preparation. Raw garlic is the strongest tasting form of garlic. It can be mixed with olive oil or spread on bread with various vegetables and additional spices. Bread with garlic spread on top of it is commonly called bruschetta, garlic bread, garlic toast, and crostini. The garlic is often minced and spread over bread with tomatoes and basil or spread on with other flavors or by itself. Garlic is also commonly paired with onion and ginger as well as tomato.

These various garlic flavor combinations influence foods from a variety of regions and culinary disciplines. Ginger mixed with garlic comes predominantly from Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Specifically, in Korean they make a dish called black garlic which is prepared by fermenting garlic at high temperature. It is mixed with soy sauce throughout all of Asia. The Japanese often use garlic with steamed rice.

Japanese Garlic Rice

2 ½ cups cooked (steamed) Japanese rice (refrigerate)
10 cloves garlic – minced or pressed
4 stalks spring onions – diced
3 eggs – beaten
½ tsp sea salt and black pepper
Vegetable cooking oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (Japanese brand)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp fish sauce

Serves 2 – 3

Korean Garlic Pork


1/4 cup gochujang

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon dry sake

1 tablespoon mirin

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons gochugaru

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

2 pounds pork shoulder or pork belly, cut into 4-by- 1/8-inch strips

Canola oil, for frying

Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Lettuce leaves and steamed short-grain rice, for serving

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients except the pork, canola oil, scallions, lettuce and rice. Add the pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the strips of pork, DO NOT overfill the pan, and stir-fry over high heat until browned in spots, about 2 minutes of cooking time per pan. Add more oil to the skillet. Place the pork to a platter and garnish with scallions. Serve with lettuce leaves and steamed rice.

Asian Garlic Noodles


12 ounces noodles

1 teaspoon olive oil or avocado oil

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

3 zucchinis spiralized or small diced

3 large carrots, cut into thin matchsticks or chopped

Chopped fresh cilantro


1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce, more to taste, if needed

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water

5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

2 teaspoons cornstarch


Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, lightly salted water according to package directions just to al dente. Drain and rinse quickly with cool water. Set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together all the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch. Measure out 1/4 cup and set aside. Whisk in the cornstarch to the larger batch of sauce. Heat the 1 teaspoon oil in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp or chicken lightly with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Add the 1/4 cup reserved sauce. Saute until cooked through (just a few minutes for shrimp, 5-6 minutes for chicken). Remove the meat to a plate and return the skillet to the heat.

Add another teaspoon of oil, if needed, and add the bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender, longer for softer vegetables.

Add the cooked spaghetti, shrimp or chicken, and reserved sauce mixture. Toss to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Indian Garlic Curry


Pearl Onions – 6 to 8 halved

Garlic Cloves - 12-15

Tamarind - Lemon size

Pearl Onion Powder - 3 tbsp

Sea Salt - to taste

Sesame Oil - 3 tbsp

Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp

Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp

Curry Leaves - 1 spring

Directions: Soak the tamarind in warm water to extract the pulp. Set aside. Heat the oil in a pan. Spread the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Add the asafoetida, curry leaves, pearl onions and garlic cloves. Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes. Add pearl onion powder and fry for a minute. Add the extracted pulp, required water and sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the flame and let it simmer until oil separates.

Dishes mixing onion and garlic can be traced to Europe and South America quite easily. There is heavy use of garlic in Italian food which is generally mixed with tomato and oregano. The French prefer a mixture of garlic and tarragon in their dishes. Moving further East across Europe the Russians eat garlic mixed with sour cream. Whereas, the Greeks prefer it mixed with lemon and cinnamon. The Spanish coastal areas use garlic heavily in seafood.

Spanish Garlic Shrimp


12 cloves garlic

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, shells reserved

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch red pepper flakes, or a 1-inch piece dried chili

1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions for Spanish Garlic Shrimp: Finely mince 4 garlic cloves and place in a bowl. Smash 4 cloves under the flat side of a knife and place in a large skillet. Thinly slice remaining four garlic cloves and set aside. Add shrimp to bowl with minced garlic. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and baking soda. Toss to combine thoroughly and set aside at room temperature. Add shrimp shells to skillet with smashed garlic and add remaining olive oil and pepper flakes. Set over medium-low to low heat and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until shells are deep ruby red, garlic is pale golden brown, and oil is intensely aromatic, about 10 minutes. Oil should be gently bubbling the whole time. When ready, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, tossing and pressing the shrimp shells to extract as much oil as possible. Discard shells and garlic. Return flavored oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden brown, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until shrimp are barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add sherry vinegar and parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

In North America, garlic is used in many common dishes and a variety of preparation styles are used. Sautéing is the most common method used for cooking garlic. It gives the garlic a nutty savory flavor. Garlic can be sautéed in oil or butter. The sauté can then be poured into just about any recipe. Specifically, in the United States garlic is heavily used in barbeque. This traditional way of preparing meats comes primarily from the Southern United States. But there are specific BBQ styles all over the USA that vary by region, state, and even county. Barbecue uses a wide variety of flavors added to sauces that are cooked over open flame. Garlic is a big part of the flavor palette of this style of cooking.

American BBQ Pork


750 grams of pork rump

1/3 cup of pineapple juice

½ cup of Worcestershire sauce

4 tablespoons or more of fresh peeled garlic, minced

1 bulb of onion, finely chopped

¼ cup of tomato catsup

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of sugar

15 metal skewers

Cooking Instructions

Slice the pork meat into ¼ inch slices, then cut the slices into 2” x 3” pieces. Wash and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, tomato catsup, black pepper and sugar together. Add the meat and mix well to combine.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour at the least, 1 day if you really want to go for it, mixing as often as possible.

Preheat your gas or start the fire in your charcoal barbecue grill.

Thread up to 5 pieces of marinated pork with a metal skewer process until all meat has been skewered, or leave on the bone if that’s favorite.

Set aside the marinade for basting. Place the skewered meat in a single line and baste with the leftover marinade every few minutes on both sides. Cook the pork meat until the desired doneness is desired, or until the juices run clear.

Number of Servings: 15 servings of garlic barbeque pork.

There are also many basic ways that garlic is prepared throughout the world.

Steaming is, simply, cooking food in an enclosed environment infused with steam.

You can steam in a variety of ways: with a covered, perforated basket that rests above a pot of boiling water; with a parchment wrapper or foil; with Chinese bamboo steamers that stack on top of a wok; and with convenient electric steamers.

Steaming cooks and seals in flavor, eliminating the need for added fats during preparation.

It also preserves nutrients better than any other cooking method except microwaving.

It's perfect for fish and shellfish because it doesn't dry out the delicate flesh. Halibut, cod and snapper steam particularly well.

Good for: Vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini and green beans, pears, chicken breasts, fish fillets and shellfish.

A large pot in which to place collapsible basket steamers,
To steam on top of the stove, simply bring water to a boil in your selected stove-top steamer, reduce heat so that a strong simmer sends steam escaping, add food to the steaming compartment, cover with a lid, and begin timing.
A makeshift steamer can be easily created with everyday cooking utensils. Use any deep-frying pan or pot, such as a 6-quart Dutch oven, and place a rack inside balanced on two identical pieces of wood wedged into the bottom. (Make sure the lid is tight-fitting.) Spaghetti pots that come with separate smaller baskets that sit up high and fit snugly under the lid make good steamers as well.
A 3/4- to 1-inch fish fillet takes anywhere from 6-15 minutes to steam, depending upon the fish; vegetables and fruit (such as a bunch of medium-stalked asparagus, a pound of green beans or two pears cut up) take from 10-25 minutes; a boneless chicken breast, 20 minutes.

Don't bother salting foods during steaming, as it just washes off.

Flavoring is as simple as a twist of lemon. Steam one fish fillet by wrapping it in foil with a few garlic cloves, grated fresh ginger, onion and basil leaves. After squeezing fresh lemon juice over the fish, wrap it closed and place in a steamer basket. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot, put basket over water and cover. Steam for about 6 minutes.

Cooking at a very high heat for a very short time is the essence of stir-frying. Because food is cooked so quickly, it should be cut into small, uniform pieces to ensure every ingredient is cooked thoroughly. This is another method that requires your full attention, as continuous stirring and sometimes tossing of the ingredients are necessary to prevent food from sticking to the pan.

The best way to stir-fry is in a wok. The sloping sides and rounded bottom are specially designed so food can be quickly browned in the "belly" of the pan and then moved up to the sides, where it finishes cooking more slowly. Traditionally, Chinese woks are cast iron and take a while to heat up. Most woks today are made of carbon steel, which heats up and cools down more quickly. The wok is placed on a metal ring which sits over the burner. When it's very hot, oil is added, followed by the food.

Good for: Broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, pork, chicken, shrimp, scallops and tofu.

Be prepared: Vegetables should be properly diced or chopped; meats should be trimmed of fat and sliced. Spices should be laid out on a plate and ready to go.
If cooking a meat and vegetable dish, brown meat first, then push it to the sides of the wok before adding veggies.
Use extra-virgin olive oil from a spray pump to coat your wok.

Heat a nonstick wok over high heat; spray with oil. Add 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 minced garlic clove and a dash of red pepper flakes; stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup white wine; simmer for about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 pound of medium-size shrimp; cover and cook for 5 minutes.

One of the simplest of all cooking methods, broiling cooks by exposing food to direct heat in an electric or gas stove, usually in the bottom drawer of the oven. It renders the same results as grilling, but in grilling the heat comes from below, while in broiling it comes from above. Because the heat is constant, all you really need to do is move the food closer to or farther from the flame depending on how you like your food cooked. That means the thinner the cut of food, the closer the heat source should be so it quickly sears the surface of the food, leaving the interior less done. Because broiling is a dry-heat method of cooking (which means no additional oil), lean cuts of beef and chicken work best when marinated first or basted during cooking.

Here are the broiling basics. Gas or electric stove. Always preheat the broiler for 30 minutes with the rack in place so foods can be seared quickly. For a 1/2-inch-thick piece of meat, allow 6 minutes of cooking time for rare, 9 minutes for medium and 12 minutes for well-done. For bone-in chicken, allow about 15 minutes per pound. Turn all foods halfway through cooking time.

To sear food, place it 1 inch below a preheated broiler for 1-2 minutes per side.
For easy clean-up, line your broiler pan with foil.

For extra flavor and to keep food from drying out, marinate lean cuts (and even vegetables) an hour beforehand. Try this on chicken breasts: Combine three cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice and zest of one lemon, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 cup white wine, salt and pepper to taste.

Fish recipe: Place 1 3/4-2 pounds of fish fillet (such as halibut, cod or snapper) in a large microwave-safe dish. Prepare a marinade of your preference (or try a combo of olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and crumbled bay leaf). Add marinade to fish and set aside for 20 minutes. Cover the dish and microwave on high for 4-9 minutes (depending on thickness of fillet) until juices are clear and fish flakes in center. Remove and let cool for 2 minutes.

For quick, homemade applesauce, Wise cuts two pounds of peeled apples into 1/2-inch chunks, puts them in a large bowl and sprinkles them with sugar, cinnamon and a splash of lime juice. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Good for: Salmon, chicken, Cornish game hen, bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini and onion.

Food cooked in a pressure cooker requires very little water and time, which means that vitamins and minerals are kept intact. The cooker seals in steam created by the boiling liquid, which intensifies the flavors. This means that you won't need to add any oil or fat for taste or richness. You barely need to season the food either. Soups and stews that would usually take hours to simmer on the stove or a whole chicken can be ready in 15 minutes, rice in five and most vegetables in about three.

Good for: Salmon, chicken, Cornish game hen, bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini and onion, artichokes, potatoes, beans, beef, chicken, lamb, risotto, soups and stews.

There are three types of pressure cookers: the old-fashioned "jiggler" or weight-valve; the developed weight-valve; and the spring-valve. All of these valves serve as a pressure regulator and tell you when it's time to adjust the heat. (They all feature safety valves that allow excess pressure to escape, and most have safety locks that make them impossible to open until the pressure has fully dropped.) The spring-valve is the most precise and easiest for beginners to use.
Use a timer when pressure cooking. This method cooks so quickly that every second really counts.
Don't fill your cooker more than two-thirds full. When cooking foods that expand, such as beans or rice, fill only halfway to allow for the buildup of steam and pressure.
Be very careful when opening the lid. Never put your face over the pot because of the heat of the steam.

Beef Stew with Orange and Rosemary: In a 5-quart pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on high heat. Add 1 1/2 pounds lean beef cut up into 1-inch cubes and cook until well browned on all sides. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat and add 1 chopped onion, 1 clove garlic and 2 tablespoons beef broth. Cook about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup more of beef broth, 1/2 cup dry red wine, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, one bay leaf and black pepper to taste. Stir well to dissolve tomato paste. Add beef. Close lid and bring pressure to high. Reduce heat as needed. Cook for 15 minutes.

To learn more about how to cook garlic read our garlic recipes page or visit on of these garlic restaurants. To enjoy these tasty flavors learn how to peel garlic in 2,5,10,15,20,30 seconds ! It just depends on how hard you shake it. 

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