Boys and Girls, I'm back...
I was really busy for the last few months... But I'm back.
Those who know me, know that I love to eat weird stuff.
Black garlic is a wonderful treat, a sweet black paste that tastes a little bit like a fig mixed with Port wine and a drop of Worchestershire sauce. Wonderful.
And wonderfully expensive if you want to buy some (and manage to find it!).
Others like Akulinary have described clever ways to build custom boxes to make your own black magic. But what if you don't have the space or the interest of building one?
The easiest solution is usually the best one... So without further wait, behold what is probably the easiest way to make your own black garlic...with 3 elements and 3 easy steps...
Step 1: You Will Need :
You really don't need much...
- A rice cooker. The cheaper the better. No electronics... Just find the model with a single "cook rice button" on the front.
- Garlic, obviously.
Step 2: Put the Garlic in the Rice Cooker...
How difficult is this?
Don't overdo it... No water, no flavoring, no anything.
Just put the garlic in the cooker ok? Nothing more.
And while at it, say goodbye to your garlic and close the lid!
Step 3: Plug the The Rice Cooker
Again, don't overdo it.
Do not touch the "cook rice" button. Ever. Just plug the cooker in a socket. The "Keep warm" will turn on right away.
Double check... "Keep warm" light should be on. "Rice cooking" should be off.
As a security, take the time to put some tape over the big inviting button in the front, ensuring no one will be tempted to touch it.
Write down the date on a piece of tape and put it on the cover, just to remember when you started your black garlic.
Step 4: Wait : Three Weeks
Yes, that is the difficult part.
You have to wait.
A full three weeks.
Yep, 21 full days.
30 240 minutes.
1 814 400 seconds.
You get the idea.
Don't put an alarm. It's not and exact science.
Don't open the lid. Don't check. Trust the magic.
The Maillard reaction is slowly working its magic...
Then, wake up one morning to open the lid and see the parchment-like garlic heads smiling back at you.
Addendum : After trying different cooking times, I would now say that 17 days is probably enough if you want a fig-like texture. The full 21 days gives a texture resembling gummy bears. Both are viable options, and around me, some prefer the 14 days and other the 21... A friend who tried this recipe on a larger scale needs more time for the same results. Something to consider before buying the biggest rice cooker on the market!
Step 5: Conclusion
It is very easy to remove the black cloves from their skins as their size will have reduced during the "cooking".
You can probably keep them in the fridge for a long time, freeze them or dry them. But with so much taste and so many recipes just waiting for your garlic, don't worry too much about conservation.
I've tried comparing locally grown garlic to cheap Chinese garlic available at my local grocery. The locally grown was tastier and sweeter. But it is probably only because the purple stripe garlic is better tasting than the porcelain variety in the first place.
Don't worry if you only have access to the "usual" porcelain garlic. It will still be delicious.
A few words of caution...
During the process, it will smell garlic. A LOT.
Your house, your clothes... everything will smell garlic. This is why the rice cooker is happy in my shed. My shed doesn't care.
Also, I'm not sure how different models of rice cooker will deal with being kept on "Warm" for three weeks. Mine worked perfectly. Be careful.