Braly: The magic of black garlic

Braly: The magic of black garlic

June 6th, 2012 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

It's not too often my husband can come to me and tell me about a new food product. He's really not a foodie, although he doesn't mind trying my culinary experiments and voicing his honest opinion. So when he told me about black garlic, I was taken aback. How did he know about a food that I didn't? That was a first.

He mentioned that it's not a new food. The process of turning white garlic into black garlic is an ancient one, he said.

I checked it out on the Internet and also discovered its amazing health benefits. According to, black garlic has twice the antioxidants as conventional garlic, so it's great for protection against disease. In fact, because black garlic is so potent, the heightened levels of antioxidants offering protection from free-radical damage make it an ideal food for combating chronic disease. Free radicals damage cells, which can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer's, circulatory problems, rheumatoid arthritis and other age-related problems.

So I went to blackgarlic. com and ordered some. It comes pureed, peeled or whole. I got two packs of whole garlic (just $3.99 per pack) with two bulbs in each package -- plenty for experimenting.

Black garlic is made through a monthlong fermentation process of regular garlic. The process produces melanoidin, a dark-colored substance, which is what turns the garlic black. In addition to the added health benefits, the fermentation also renders the garlic less pungent than its traditional counterpart, thereby making it far more palatable for many people. After trying it myself, I can testify to the fact that there were no ill olfactory effects on my hands or my breath. Amazing.

When I cooked with it, I found it very easy to peel, too. I really can't say enough about this product. I used it in numerous dishes, from garlic bread to spaghetti and even a Caesar salad with incredible results. Garlic, to me, as such a strong, sometimes bitter flavor. I discovered none of that in black garlic.

This recipe for Black Garlic Chicken Satay was delicious, a keeper for my files.

Also, it didn't surprise me that Bi-Lo and Walmart did not carry this product. But neither do Earth Fare, The Fresh Market or Greenlife Grocery. That did surprise me. Until they do, we'll just have to order it from the online source.

Black Garlic Chicken Satay

11/2 pounds chicken breasts, skin removed and cut into cubes

For the marinade:

3 small shallots, peeled

1 clove peeled black garlic

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

6 cloves peeled black garlic

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

4 spring onions

1 (6.75-ounce) can creamed coconut milk/cream

Salt, to taste

For the marinade: Place the marinade ingredients in a blender. Add the marinade to the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight in a nonmetallic bowl.

To make the sauce: Place all the sauce ingredients into a blender; blend together. Put the sauce into a saucepan, and heat gently. (If the sauce thickens too much, just add a little more coconut milk). Adjust seasoning according to taste.

To assemble: Thread the cubes of chicken onto skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked thoroughly (160 F). Serve with the warm sauce.

The Creative Discovery Museum's biscuit-tasting contest, held this past weekend, was a tremendous success. Once the votes were counted, Trenton, Ga.'s Square Meal restaurant was the winner. I've heard great things about this restaurant and can't wait to give it a try. It's at 12366 Main St. in downtown Trenton.