Are you ready to seriously elevate your cooking with a unique and delicious superfood? Introducing black garlic paste – a savory and slightly sweet condiment that’s packed with health benefits.
Unlike regular garlic, black garlic is aged for several weeks under carefully controlled conditions, giving it a complex and robust flavor that’s impossible to get elsewhere. Not only is black garlic paste delicious, but it has a host of health benefits, including being up to twice as high in antioxidants as raw garlic!
It’s so much better to make it at home since it guarantees you the freshest and most flavorful paste. You also have control over the ingredients that go into it, it’s cost-effective, and it’s a sustainable option. Plus, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as creating something so delicious and unique from scratch. So why settle for store-bought when you can make your own that will likely taste a thousand times better?
In this article, we will cover how to make it at home and its many uses in cooking. We will also be discussing the health benefits of consuming black garlic paste and offering my favorite recipe ideas for incorporating it into your meals. So, whether you’re a home cook looking to jazz up your meals or a health-conscious individual looking to eat more nutrient-dense foods, this article has something for everyone.
Get ready to add a new dimension of incredible umami flavor to your meals!
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What is black garlic paste?
Black garlic paste is a type of condiment made from whole heads of garlic that has been aged for several weeks in consistently low temperatures and humidity levels (aka black garlic).
The aging process changes the garlic’s texture, color, and flavor. The garlic cloves turn pitch black and become soft and slightly sticky, with a chewy consistency that is unlike raw garlic. The cloves are easy to slice, mince, or even spread. It’s smooth and doesn’t have the pungent raw garlic aroma, it’s more subtle and earthy.
The flavor of black garlic is unique and complex. It’s sweet and savory, with a deep, rich taste that is not found anywhere else. The aging process brings out the natural sweetness of the garlic, while also creating new flavor compounds.
Black garlic paste is made by blending black garlic cloves either on its own or with other added flavors to more easily add its incredible burst of flavor to any dish. It’s used as a spread, marinade, or ingredient in many recipes.
It is nutrient-rich and has many health benefits, too!
Black garlic health benefits
It is not surprising that black garlic has many wonderful health benefits since raw garlic also has a long history of being used for its medicinal properties. Raw garlic can even be used as a salve to aid in healing!
However, black garlic is known to have some unique health benefits that are not found in raw garlic. The unique process of creating black garlic causes the formation of new compounds that are not otherwise present, like S-allylcysteine, which has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Not only that, but black garlic can improve liver function and may also enhance the bioavailability of certain nutrients, making them more easily absorbed by the body.
Specifically, some of the known health benefits of black garlic include:
- Improving cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Boosting the immune system
- Providing up to twice the amount of antioxidants than raw garlic
- Acting as an antioxidant to protect against cellular damage
- Reducing inflammation in the body
- Possessing anti-cancer properties
- Improving liver function
- Improving gut health by promoting the growth of healthy bacteria
- Possessing anti-aging properties
Overall, while raw garlic has many incredible health benefits, black garlic enhances those benefits slightly, with the added bonus of its unique flavor, texture, and new powerful health-promoting compounds.
How to make black garlic paste (step by step)
Don’t have black garlic? See this black garlic recipe to get started.
Learning how to make black garlic paste is so incredibly simple! The fun part is experimenting with different additions to create completely unique and delicious black garlic pastes, but you can also keep it basic for a wonderful flavor. It’s the perfect “secret ingredient” to add to all of your meals!
What you’ll need
- Black garlic: if you need a recipe to make black garlic I’ve written this article with everything you need to know to make the perfect black garlic whether in an oven, rice cooker, dehydrator, instant pot, fermenting bag, or fermenting crock.
- A blender or food processor: you will need something that can thoroughly blend your black garlic.
- Whatever additions you prefer (optional): great choices include balsamic, olive oil, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and so much more. I offer a full list of recommendations below.
Step 1: Prepare black garlic
Start with fully cooled black garlic heads. Peel and separate each clove until you are left with black garlic cloves. Add them to your food process or blender.
A good starting point is to prepare 3-6 heads of garlic, resulting in approx 40 garlic cloves. However, you can use more or less.
Step 2: Blend into a paste
Blend until it forms a smooth paste.
Add a little olive oil (1 teaspoon at a time) until you achieve a paste consistency you like. You may need to scrape down the sides at the beginning.
It is possible to use any liquid oil, but different oils have slightly different tastes and my go-to is extra virgin olive oil. The rich, buttery flavor of olive oil enhances the savory notes of black garlic and gives the paste a creamier, smooth texture. Plus, it will also help to preserve it!
Step 3: Add seasonings or additions (optional)
It’s best to add additional ingredients like honey, herbs, or balsamic vinegar after the black garlic paste has been blended to help maximize the flavors and aroma of these ingredients. See my list of recommended additions below.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl or a mortar and pestle, then add any additional ingredients and mix it in by hand. When adding herbs you should chop them up finely before adding them in.
A general rule of thumb is to start with a small amount of your added ingredients, like 1 teaspoon for every 3-4 cloves of black garlic, and then adjust to taste.
These are just a few examples – you can experiment with different flavor combinations to find your favorite! You could even just create a basic black garlic paste and mix it in with added ingredients when you need it.
Step 4: Store
Place the black garlic paste into an airtight container.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-6 months. This may change depending on which additional ingredients you used. Alternatively, freeze it for up to 12 months.
If your paste develops any signs of spoilage (smells off, mold, discolored, etc), dispose of it and make a new batch to enjoy.
Best added ingredients for black garlic paste
There are many ingredients you can add to make the black garlic paste even tastier. Here are a few suggestions:
- Honey: Adding a touch of honey will help to balance out the intense, savory flavor of the black garlic and make it a bit sweeter.
- Soy sauce: Adding a small amount of soy sauce will give the paste a deeper, more complex flavor and a hint of saltiness.
- Balsamic vinegar: Adding a small amount of balsamic vinegar will give the paste a tangy, acidic kick that complements the rich, savory flavor of the black garlic.
- Sesame oil: Adding a small amount of sesame oil will give the paste a nutty, earthy flavor and a nice aroma.
- Spices: You can also add some spices like cumin, smoked paprika, or black pepper to give the paste a different flavor profile.
- Herbs: Dry or fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, oregano, or basil can be added to give the paste a fresh, fragrant flavor. Add some extra virgin olive oil to get to your preferred consistency.
Uses for black garlic paste
Here are a few basic ways to use black garlic paste in dishes at home:
As a seasoning or marinade
Black garlic paste can be used as a seasoning for meats, vegetables, and grains. It can be used to add depth and complexity to marinades, meat rubs, and sauces.
In soups and stews
Black garlic paste can be scooped into soups and stews to add depth and complexity to their flavors. Ramen is a very popular one!
In salad dressings
Black garlic paste can be used to make salad dressings by mixing it with oil, vinegar, and herbs.
In sandwiches and burgers
Black garlic paste can be spread on sandwiches and burgers, adding a unique and complex flavor.
In dips and spreads
Mix in with other ingredients such as cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream, or yogurt to make dips and spreads.
Add to main dishes
Black garlic paste can be spread into a pizza sauce or added to dishes like pasta and risotto.
As a condiment
Use black garlic paste as a condiment to complement a variety of dishes. My personal favorite is black garlic aioli and black garlic butter.
Black garlic can be used in making desserts like brownies, cakes, and ice cream.
In tea or infusion
Black garlic can be steeped in hot water to make a flavorful tea or infusion.
As a popcorn seasoning
Black garlic paste can be mixed with butter and drizzled over popcorn for a unique and delicious snack.
Recipes using black garlic paste
Black garlic’s unique flavor makes it a versatile ingredient in many different dishes. Here are some recipe ideas that use black garlic:
- Black garlic aioli – Made by mixing black garlic paste with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt.
- Black garlic butter – Mix softened butter with black garlic paste, herbs, and spices.
- Risotto with black garlic – A creamy and flavorful risotto with black garlic and parmesan cheese.
- Black garlic ramen – Simmer a broth with black garlic paste mixed in.
- Glaze of black garlic – Drizzle this sweet and savory glaze over meals or veggies.
- Black garlic hummus – Mix black garlic paste with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and spices.
- Truffle oil and black garlic pasta – Made by sautéing mushrooms in truffle oil and black garlic paste, and tossing it with pasta, grated parmesan, and parsley.
- Black garlic bread – Spread softened butter and black garlic paste on slices of bread, top with grated cheese, and bake in the oven.
- Honey and black garlic glazed pork – Marinate pork in a mixture of black garlic paste, honey, soy sauce, and spices.
- Black garlic and herb roasted chicken – Rub black garlic paste, herbs, and butter under the skin of a whole chicken, and roast in the oven.
- Black garlic vinaigrette – Mix black garlic paste, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your choice of herbs to create a tasty salad dressing.
- Steak rubbed with black garlic – Mix black garlic paste with olive oil and herbs and spices, and use it to rub on the steak before grilling or pan-searing.
- Black garlic panna cotta – Add black garlic paste to a classic panna cotta recipe.
- Black garlic deviled eggs – Black garlic paste can be used in a filling for deviled eggs.
The possibilities are endless! There are a ton of other recipes over at this link.
Black garlic flavor can be quite strong for some and adding too much of it to a dish can overpower the other flavors. It’s best to start with a small amount and add more as needed to get the best flavor.
Consuming black garlic is generally considered safe and has not been reported to cause any significant health risks. However, it’s important to keep in mind that black garlic is high in antioxidants, which may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, by reducing their effectiveness.
If you are taking any medications, it’s best to consult with your doctor before incorporating black garlic into your diet. Additionally, those who are allergic to garlic should be cautious and check for any potential allergic reactions before consuming black garlic.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Where did black garlic paste originate from?
Black garlic (and black garlic paste) has been used in Asian cuisine for centuries, but its popularity has only recently spread to western cuisine.
Can black garlic be used as a substitute for raw garlic in recipes?
Yes and no. Though you can use black garlic in any recipe you’d like, it has quite a different taste profile to raw garlic and isn’t comparable in taste. Using it as a substitute isn’t ideal, but using it as a replacement very well may be depending on the recipe!
I don’t feel like making black garlic at home, what are my options?
Though making black garlic at home can produce superior results, you can absolutely purchase either black garlic heads or black garlic paste online! Many are available on Amazon, though they sell out very quickly so you’ll need to keep a watchful eye out.
Will cooking or exposure to high heat destroy the nutrients in black garlic?
Cooking or exposing black garlic to high heat may reduce some of the nutrients present in the garlic, but won’t eliminate it. For example, antioxidants are heat-stable compounds and are not affected by the cooking process.
Cooking black garlic at lower temperatures or for shorter periods of time will help to preserve more of its nutritional value.
What does black garlic taste like?
Black garlic has a unique taste that is quite different from raw garlic. It is less pungent and spicy than raw garlic and has a more subtle, mellow flavor. It’s sweeter with notes of balsamic, soy sauce, and molasses. Some people describe the taste of black garlic as being similar to a combination of balsamic vinegar and caramel.
Black garlic paste
Have you tried this recipe? Leave us a review!
- 1 blender or food processor
- 1 airtight jar for storage
- 40+ Black garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Additional ingredients to flavor (optional)
- Separate and peel the cloves of black garlic until you reach the desired amount of cloves for your paste.
- Place them into a blender or food processor and blend, scrapin down the sides if needed.
- Add a bit of olive oil (1 teaspoon at a time) until your preferred paste consistency is reached.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix in any additional ingredients. (Optional)
- Store black garlic paste in a airtight container or jar in the refridgerator.
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Sesame oil
Making black garlic paste at home is a great way to enjoy the delicious and unique flavor of black garlic, as well as its many health benefits, in your own kitchen. Have you tried this recipe? I’d love to hear how it went!