Garlic is probably my most favorite spice. It’s one thing that I always have around, fresh, frozen and/or in powdered form. I use it in marinades, stews, dipping sauces, fried rice and a whole lot more. I love its distinct aroma and the flavor it imparts in dishes is simply irreplaceable.
I get quite picky about where the bulbs I buy come from. Many many years ago, I thought there was only one kind of garlic sold at supermarkets. I remembered getting disappointed with the lack of flavor and dryness, not to mention the occasional sprouts in some. Then, I chanced upon a local garlic which brought me back to the “real” taste of “real” garlic that I grew up with. From then on, I would look at the tag to see where it was sourced. After some time, I saw garlic from California which was equally good and about the same price as its Canadian counterpart. I used to only buy these two kinds, but it got so ridiculously expensive that a pound is now over $12. And with the pandemic happening, I had to look for better options – other than the cheapest garlic sold at supermarkets. The Costco here started selling Spain-grown garlic so I gave it a try. It has a good flavor and the warehouse price is lower than when bought elsewhere.
Here are some tips that I use every time I purchase garlic:
- Firmess – the bulb has to be firm when gently pressed. This equals freshness. Don’t buy the ones that’s soft.
- Outer skin has to be intact and individual cloves are not exposed
- No Sprouts – be mindful of sprouts shooting out at the top of the bulb. This means it’s old. It’s good for planting though.
- Source – always check where the garlic was grown.
Remember, not all garlic are the same. I find that the cheapest ones lack flavor so you have to use more. The better tasting garlic (though pricier) has full of real garlic flavor so a little goes a long way.
This garlic oil is a staple in my fridge. You may think it’s a lot but once you try it, you’ll know how versatile this is. I started intentionally making this for Chicken Arroz Caldo. Then, I realized making the Classic Garlic Fried Rice with this on hand is a cinch. I would use the garlic bits as a topping in stir fries, in my Special Palabok, Beef Pares and it’s great sprinkled over stir-fried vegetables.
Homemade Garlic Oil
- 1 to 1 ½ cups fresh garlic finely chopped
- 2 cups oil I used Canola
- Pour the oil in a shallow frying pan (I used a nonstick).
- Add the garlic to the oil then turn the heat ON to medium.
- Once small bubbles start to show, lower the heat (lowest setting). Stir the mixture and cook (while stirring occasionally) until the garlic turns to a light golden brown. From this point on, watch and continuously stir just until the bits of garlic are crispy. Remove from the heat immediately as it can go from perfectly golden to burnt if left unattended.
- Cool a bit (about 5 minutes) before transferring to a lidded container. I used small mason jars. Covers once completely cooled then park in the fridge until ready to use. It keeps for weeks and garlic bits stay crunchy!