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The anatomy of garlic: A key Chinese cooking ingredient


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On 4/1/2019 at 7:29 PM, abcdefg said:

Seasonal, regional cooking is what I mainly do and it's what I write up for you in these forum pages. So perhaps what I publish should be a guide to the authentic seasonal and regional food of Yunnan: How to shop for ingredients, how to make good dishes with them at home, how to find these items in restaurants if you happen to just be visiting the area.


Yes I agree, it is also how people should cook. The western world mostly expect to get what they want when they want it and this is not very green. The food miles alone clocked up by this activity is shocking.

I refuse to buy the worst of these offenders out of season. I buy tinned fruit in the winter (preserves) and build my meals around the food in season. Those that demand strawberries in December really annoy me. It is not vital to anyone's survival to have strawberries in December, besides they are not a patch on ones in the summer picked down the road and fresh in the shop or market.

Sorry rant over:)

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9 hours ago, Kay Anne said:

I would love to be able to grow this at home in the US.  I did a search but can't find anything...


Welcome to the forum, @Kay Anne-- I haven't seen it in the US either, though Wikipedia has a page about it under the name of "solo garlic." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solo_garlic 






Solo garlic, also known as single clove garlic, monobulb garlic, single bulb garlic, or pearl garlic,[1] is a type of Allium sativum (garlic).[2] The size of the single clove differs from approximately 25 to 50 mm in diameter. It has the flavour of the garlic clove but is somewhat milder and slightly perfumed. The appearance is somewhat akin to that of a pickling onion, with white skin and often purple stripes. Solo garlic offers the advantage, compared to traditional garlic, of being very quick and easy to peel. 

Single clove garlic has been grown at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains for about 7,000 years.[1] It is not a single variety of garlic, but rather a product of specific planting practices.[1] 



You might look into "elephant garlic." It has many of the same taste characteristics as "solo garlic" even though it isn't a true garlic (it's a relative of the leek.) It's readily available and easy to grow. 


We have lots of other recipes and discussions of ingredients, presented over the past few years. Here's an alphabetical index: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/52430-alphabetical-index-of-food-articles/


And here's a link to the thread about using garlic shoots with slow-cured ham: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58187-gift-ham-and-garlic-bolts-蒜苔炒火腿/ . That's what started the discussion of garlic, particularly how to use different parts of the garlic plant, over and above just the heads or cloves. 

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  • 2 months later...
7 hours ago, MerlinStevens said:

How can I start to eat garlic? I hate it, despite all the useful points of it, unfortunately.


Why bother? If you don't like it why eat it? I hate it and avoid it at all costs.

Any health benefits are minimal at best and can be got by eating garlic capsules, all the benefits none of the horrible taste.

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Take @Shelley's advice, above. I love garlic when used correctly to give an interesting flavor note to savory food, but would never tell anyone they had to try to eat it. 


9 hours ago, MerlinStevens said:

How can I start to eat garlic? I hate it, despite all the useful points of it, unfortunately.


The only thing I might suggest trying once is the large, single clove garlic 独荪,discussed above, in place of a clove of ordinary garlic (the kind in which each clove of garlic has several distinct pieces "petals.") The reason is that single-clove garlic is milder, has less "burn" to it, less "bite." You might find it more suitable (or you still might not like it.) 


If you are in China now, you will find that you need to specify "no garlic" in many popular restaurant dishes. If one orders a plate of plain fried spinach, 清炒菠菜,for example, it will very often automatically be made with chopped garlic added. You would need to tell the waiter “我不吃大蒜。请不放大蒜。” ("I don't eat garlic. Please don't put garlic in it.) MIght be helpful to even have a note written out with that information so you could show it to restaurant staff when you order.



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yup, garlic smells terrible , but tastes so good. For Chinese , it is a common sense that avoiding garlic if you are about to meet someone in 1 or 2 hours.


I would suggest you to try some garlic bread, garlic naan , the sort of fried bread with chopped garlic, the garlic smell softened , and you can concentrated on the taste,LOL. good luck.

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