How to Fix Too Much Garlic: Easy Helpful Tips To Follow

GARLIC

It’s often difficult to go wrong with garlic. Most of the time, you can get away with eyeballing how much garlic you would need for a particular dish.

Additionally, the margin of error increases even further if you love Italian, Asian, or Mediterranean food that is often rich in garlic and is arguably better for it.

However, sometimes you might just add a few cloves too much or a minute too late and now your stew, stir-fry, or pasta reeks of the pungent allium.

So, how to fix too much garlic in your dish? Can you still salvage it? You’ll be glad to know that there’s still hope. Here are several easy and helpful tips for when you end up using too much garlic.

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How Garlic Affects A Dish

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For you to be able to remedy an overloaded plate of garlic, you must first understand what garlic brings to food as an ingredient.

When you crush, chop, and mince garlic, you release its heat as well as its pungent aromas and flavors.

When raw, these flavors can be quite intense. However, once you add garlic to the food that you’re cooking, the compounds that carry those intense flavors and aromas break down as the garlic slowly blends with the dish.

As the garlic melds with the other ingredients, the overall dish becomes mouth-wateringly aromatic.

Consequently, since our sense of smell is intimately entwined with our sense of taste, an aromatic dish will often mean a tasty one. However, besides aroma, something else happens to the garlic.

When you cook garlic properly, it’s otherwise heated, pungent and intense flavor mellows into something subtly nutty, sweet, and well-balanced.

Those three traits are frankly flavors of which you can’t have too much. Hence, we don’t believe there is such a thing as “too much garlic.”

Usually, it’s not necessarily the amount of garlic that’s causing the problem but the method of its addition during the cooking process. We find that this unfortunate problem occurs in three scenarios:

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#1 Incorrectly Cut Garlic


When using garlic, chefs typically crush garlic and chop it to a particular size. Although the cutting process may seem random, there’s a science behind it. The fact is that the intensity of the garlic flavor is highly dependent on how you choose to cut it up.

  • Whole cloves

Whole cloves of garlic will have the mildest of flavors since it has kept most of its oils and juices in.

  • Sliced cloves
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When you start breaking the garlic’s skin, you also start to release its distinct flavors. Slicing garlic would then give more of the garlic taste that is slightly stronger than if it was whole.

  • Minced cloves

Chopping garlic into finer bits will release even more of the oils and when you incorporate these pieces into your dish, a stronger garlic taste.

  • Pressed/crushed cloves

Finally, garlic that you have crushed to a paste, such as when it’s gone through a garlic press will yield the strongest and fullest of flavors. Hence, cooks would add this type of prepared garlic sparingly into their entrees.

So, the next time you cook with garlic, make sure you cut, slice, or chop it in the way that corresponds to your desired flavor intensity. Just keep in mind: the smaller the cut, the stronger the flavor.

#2 Overcooked garlic


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A common culprit to the strong garlic flavor when cooks overcooked or burn the garlic. Heating garlic past the recommended cooking time will yield very sharp and bitter flavors.

Sadly, overcooked garlic is very hard to remedy. You’re only two choices are dilute your sauce with water, or double its amount to mask the off-taste of the garlic. Make sure too, that garlic has not infused the sauce you’re adding.

However, these remedies only work if the garlic has just browned and not gone black. If it has, you’ll most likely have to start over.

Alternatively, if a dish requires a long time on the stove, then you can avoid overcooking garlic by maintaining a low cooking temperature throughout the cooking process.

#3 Undercooked Garlic


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Another common cause of the off-putting garlic taste is when the garlic is undercooked. Usually, this scenario takes place when a cook fails to cook garlic long enough for its pungent flavors to mellow, or when they add the garlic too late in the cooking process.

To avoid undercooking garlic, make sure you give its robust flavors enough time to soften and sweeten. So, when you get to taste your dish and the garlic is still strong, you might want to put it back on the heat for a few more minutes.

Take note though that some recipes might call for the addition of garlic near the end of the cooking. Most likely, recipes employ this method for dishes that do require a more pronounced garlic taste.

But, you might interject, what if the garlic is neither overcooked nor undercooked, and there’s simply too many garlic bits, or cloves for your sensitive taste buds to handle?

When There’s Just Too Much

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So, what if the chef has perfectly prepared and cooked the garlic, but there’s simply too many garlic slices or bits in your food? Naturally, biting into those garlic pieces will give you a much stronger flavor than the overall dish that it has infused.

In this scenario, adding more sauce might help disperse the garlic bits. Of course, you’ll have to re-season the dish, so its overall flavor will still be balanced.

Another possible remedy is to just physically remove the garlic pieces from the dish to avoid any major garlic-biting mishap.

Mellowing the Garlic

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Cooking with garlic can be a remarkably rewarding experience, not to mention delicious. The addition of garlic brings a whole new and wonderful dimension to most foods that require it.

Ultimately, if you follow the steps and tips above closely, the problem of fixing too much garlic will not be an issue again.

  • If you have to remember anything, just remember three things. First, prepare garlic that corresponds to your desired heat, and spice levels.
  • Second, avoid overcooking garlic by being aware of the cooking time, as well as the level of heat that your pan and pot are on. Lastly, give garlic enough time to mellow and soften to avoid the robust flavors that come from undercooked garlic.

    Katherine

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