|Left: Fresh Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil ; Right: Sauteed Chopped Garlic in Rice Bran Oil|
I use alot of garlic in my daily cooking for all types of food, both Asian and Western. To save time in the kitchen, I will spend some time each weekend to chop up a whole lot of garlic and store them in a glass container filled with olive oil (just enough to cover it completely to prevent discoloring from oxidization) which is then kept in the refrigerator. This raw garlic must only be used in cooked dishes and not eaten raw. I have read somewhere that the Botulism bacteria that can be found in garlic survives in oil (thrives in no-oxygen environment such as oil, and exposure to oxygen kills it), so it is crucial that this garlic is cooked 2-3mins at about 100-120deg to kill any traces bacteria. I prepared garlic this way for my daily cooking for a long time but I have always used the garlic in COOKED dishes, never eaten raw. So if you wish to eat raw garlic in your dishes, ALWAYS prepare them fresh.
I also LOVE garlic infused oil. When I do my weekly garlic chop chop, I take aside some to make garlic oil. The easiest method is to use the microwave - I love this method because the garlic is cooked evenly. Place any amount of chopped garlic in a microwavable bowl. Fill the bowl with Rice Bran Oil until the garlic entirely submerged in oil, plus 0.5cm more. I use rice bran oil for the rich yellow color and less strong flavour compared to olive oil, but also feel free to use any vegetable oil such as Sunflower or Canola oil. Now, the amount of time needed to cook the garlic depends on how much garlic you used.
Place the bowl into the microwave and start it on high for 1 minute. Repeat the same process of 1 min on high until you see the garlic has turn to light brown. Remove the bowl from the microwave. The hot oil will continue to cook the garlic until golden brown even after it's removed from the microwave. So do not keep cooking the garlic until it has turned golden brown because it will become charred by the time the oil in the bowl has cooled down. When the garlic oil has cooled down, keep it in a container with a non-air tight lid. Try preparing this weekly and not keep each batch for too long. You can obviously keep for longer, say 2-3 weeks if you like (or when you have prepared a larger portion of garlic) because the garlic oil will not go off that quickly. Always smell the oil to check if it has gone rancid, otherwise, keep using it until you have run out!
I usually use the raw garlic in the actual cooking process and the garlic oil (including the chopped garlic bits) to drizzle over the food as a finishing touch before serving because it looks good, and smells great! You can use the garlic oil to finish/garnish stir fry dishes, pasta, asian salads, and even drizzle on a slice of toast (I like mine on Turkish toast)! Let your imagination run wild and use the garlic oil for anything that you like to eat!
So if you are a fellow garlic lover, tell me how you prepare, eat and cook garlic.