I read everywhere that I should put garlic first in the oil for a stir fry. However, whenever I do this the garlic burns into little brown chunks. What's the proper amount of time for letting garlic sit before adding other stuff ? Thanks
You have a few options, as you're dealing with high-heat cooking
- Only fry the garlic for a few seconds before adding something else to cool down the pan. You don't want it to cook 'til it shows color ... just a few seconds then toss in some onion or other high-moisture items.
- Add the garlic with something else (eg, ginger), to keep it from burning quite as quickly.
- Leave the garlic in larger bits, so it'll take longer to burn (as the moisture doesn't cook off immediately).
- Really crush the garlic well. Not chopped, but pulp it into a paste before using it, so it both holds together as a mass, and releases all of its moisture.
- Move the garlic to the edge of the wok after cooking it (use a wok scoop or rounded spatula to make sure you get it all) ... then add your next ingredients, but don't bring the garlic back down 'til plenty of other stuff is in the pan.
And of course, make sure that you've cut up everything before you add the garlic -- you're cooking over such high heat that you want to be able to quickly add other things, otherwise you risk cooking the garlic for too long while you're dealing with some other ingredient.
I have a recipe book that advocates stir frying garlic for "10 seconds or until fragrant." So once you start smelling that glorious frying garlic smell, start throwing more stuff into the fry. Comes out lovely.
Of course, if fried garlic is all you're doing, then it should be the very last, or at the very least scooped out of the oil. I attempted to do a garlic/olive oil grilled cheese (yum!) but the garlic was in brown chunks afterwards, stuck to the bread. I know now to toast the bread in oil, throw the garlic on, then quickly flip the sandwich around and serve.
if you work it into a paste with salt then stir frying it first seems to release the aromatics into the oil where as chopping the garlic turns it brown, hard and bitter If i want a strong garlic taste, then i make a paste and add it at the end of cooking - you only need one raw garlic to really give a punchy taste to a dish rather then 6-8 cloves that have been stewed of all their flavour