Blended Garlic And Oil Make A Versatile, Flavor-Packed Paste

Every capable home cook knows to always keep a supply of cooking oil and garlic. The latter is a reliable pantry staple for packing a dish with both nutrients and flavor. Cooking oil not only adds nutrients and flavor to dishes, it also helps food get cooked and keeps it from sticking to the pan. But if you want a more convenient way of using both, blend raw garlic with oil to create an easy-to-use garlic paste.

Simply put peeled garlic cloves in a blender, add enough oil to cover them, and blend everything into a purée so the garlic releases its full flavor. Add a pinch of salt for extra taste. For a smaller batch, chop the garlic into tiny pieces first then grind them with a mortar and pestle. It's better to use wooden tools for this, though, as the alkaline surfaces of a marble mortar and pestle neutralize the garlic's acidity, leading to diminished flavor. Add the oil after grinding the garlic for easier clean-up. For best results, go with olive oil. Not only does it make chopping garlic a breeze, their flavors pair well together and they make a nutritious combo.

Having garlic paste around can cut down your cooking time considerably. You don't have to peel and chop garlic whenever you need it for a dish; simply use the paste in the same way you would fresh minced garlic. It's also easy to spread so you'll get an even distribution of that lovely garlicky flavor.

Garlic paste has incredible versatility

Much like how useful garlic is in every stage of your cooking, so is garlic paste. Combine it with other seasonings like soy sauce, vinegar, and your favorite spice mix to make a marinade for meat and vegetables. Take a page from Indian cuisine, and incorporate ginger as you make your paste so it gets that mouthwatering citrusy heat.

Spoon some garlic paste onto a pan with oil and cook stir-fry the way you normally would. Make your tomato sauce, curries, and stews thicker and more delicious by cooking them with some garlic paste, too. If you have leftover steamed rice, use the paste to cook a flavor-packed batch of sinangag or Filipino garlic fried rice. When using garlic paste to replace fresh garlic in a recipe, keep in mind that one teaspoon is equivalent to one large garlic clove. You can also rely on a few spoonfuls of garlic paste to make your mashed potatoes, salad dressings, and sandwich spreads more delectable. For some homemade garlic butter spread, mix the paste with softened butter and slather it on toast, grilled corn on the cob, steak, and more.

To keep your homemade garlic paste fresh and savory for a week, store it in a glass container with an air-tight seal. Drizzle a layer of olive oil on top before sealing and placing it in the refrigerator. For longer-term storage, put it in the freezer where it can last for up to six months.