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Sautéing garlic leaves an incredibly irresistible aroma in the kitchen. However, the smell of burnt garlic can be devastating because it signifies miscalculation. If you have experienced burning garlic at some point, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible cook. There are several ways of avoiding burnt garlic.
To prevent yourself from burning garlic in your recipes, the most important factors to consider are preparation and timing. You will need to ensure your garlic is cut in the right proportions and the cooking method is set to the appropriate heat. Obviously, there’s are a whole host of other things that can go wrong and leave you with unappetizing garlic. To know more about the factors that contribute to burning your garlic and how to avoid them, read on
What Happens to Garlic When It Burns?
You may have found yourself searching for what to do with burnt garlic once or twice. Chances are, you’ve already reached the point of no return if you have to ask yourself how to fix burnt garlic. Burning garlic alters its chemical composition. The high temperature turns it into carbon, which will soon disintegrate with prolonged heat. The smell is acrid, and the taste is bitter — definitely far from the delightful aroma and flavor of properly toasted ones.
What Burnt Garlic Does to Your Dishes
Burnt garlic won’t let you achieve the explosion of all the right flavors in your recipe when the only thing your garlic does is add a pungent taste and smell. No one wants to eat that.
While some top restaurants do add burnt onions to dressings or burnt chilli in garlic rice, burning is an avant-garde method best reserved for ingredients that develop more depth when burnt. Sadly, this is not the case for those precious cloves of garlic.
Is Eating Burnt Garlic Bad for Your Health?
Despite knowing to avoid using burnt garlic in your dishes, you may still be unusually drawn to its smoky flavor. Burning food rearranges its sugars and amino acids, creating a savory taste. This explains why eating burnt garlic bread or drizzling burnt garlic oil in dishes tastes delectable for some.
As to whether burnt garlic is bad for you — not exactly. When foods are cooked at high temperatures, a harmful molecule called acrylamide forms, which is a possible toxin and carcinogen. This mostly applies to starchy foods like toast and roasted potatoes, and garlic is a non-starchy vegetable.
Reasons Why You Burn Your Garlic
So let’s get down it. If you want to start avoiding burnt garlic, here are some of the things that you may be doing to contribute to it:
1) Prepping It the Wrong Way
If you’re fond of cooking with finely chopped cloves or even grating them when you’re feeling lazy, it’s time to give up that habit. The smaller the pieces are, the more quickly they will burn. If you’re just looking for a simple kick, just pound on a few and add them in. You’ll be surprised to achieve the same result.
2) Adding It Too Soon
Make sure you’re not adding your garlic bits too soon into the pan. Incorporate them mid-way through your cooking, so they’re less likely to burn. The fact that they’ll be sitting on a bed of other ingredients will help ensure they won’t be directly touching the surface of the pan.
3) Using It With High Heat
You’re probably so excited about the smell of garlic that you tend to turn up the heat to speed up the browning. This tends to mess up the flavor and texture of your dish. Start with a low temperature if you don’t want to end up with garlic that’s too crispy or blackened.
4) Buying Pre-Packed Ones
Many of us are probably guilty of this one, and the root is a lack of patience. Taking shortcuts by buying pre-minced garlic just won’t give you that same taste. Moreover, it’s easier to burn this inferior substitute than using freshly peeled ones. It’s just not worth it.
Cooking Tips To Avoid Burning Your Garlic
While garlic is the foundation of many tasty recipes, burnt garlic can ruin the flavor of your dish. You may think those burnt chilli garlic noodles are fine, but wait until you taste the way they are meant to be cooked. To prevent burnt garlic, try these simple tips:
1) Chop It Into Thicker Pieces
One rule of thumb when it comes to avoiding burnt garlic is to chop it into larger pieces instead of smaller bits. Minced or grated garlic may be easier to cook, but they also burn more quickly.
2) Use a Low or Medium Flame
If you must absolutely cook your garlic first, start with low heat. It only takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute for garlic to release its flavor, so don’t leave it cooking at a higher temperature than necessary.
3) Sauté It Towards the End
Only add your chopped garlic after your onions are starting to brown. The onions can take the prolonged heat, but your garlic can’t. By the time the onions are done, your garlic will have roasted beautifully without you needing to search “how to fix burnt garlic taste” online.
4) Toss in a Whole Clove
If you want just a hint of garlic in your dish, you can avoid the chopping entirely and add in a whole unpeeled clove at the start of your cooking. Yes, this will do the trick. Even just a single clove will release the flavor your dish needs.
5) Don’t Overheat the Butter
Nothing smells better than a kitchen filled with the aroma of garlic cooking in butter. Everything already tastes better with butter — even more so with garlic. Make sure that the butter in your pan is not too hot, so you won’t have to cry over your burnt garlic recipe.
Conclusion: Prep and Cook Garlic With Care
If you’re in a rush and tempted to just throw in a heaping pile of pre-minced garlic into that extra hot pan, stop for a second. Remember that prepping and cooking garlic needs your care — and a great deal of patience. Avoiding burnt garlic is easy if you’re open to changing the kitchen habits you’ve been used to.
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