Day 29 of self-isolation.
With a national lockdown in place, it gave me a perfect opportunity to create one of my most favorite foods: black garlic. It’s garlic aged through the Maillard Reaction and tastes so smooth and savory like soy sauce, you can eat it raw. In essence, it’s an umami bomb.
For a long time, when I would host some dinner parties to show off my culinary skills, I’d have to search so many grocery stores (and even request rush orders from Amazon) in order to find black garlic. Not only is it rare to find black garlic in the grocery store (much less an Asian grocery store), it’s fairly pricey. Black garlic is a treasure quest. However, after watching Josh Weissman’s video, I didn’t realize how fucking easy it is to make it; it just takes a very long time to create.
Since I have a lot of time to kill these days, I did my research and found out that black garlic takes about 3-4 weeks to prepare in a rice cooker or dehydrator. Even though every Filipino I know has a rice cooker, I didn’t own one. Still, I anticipated the shutdown and bought an Instant Pot Zest Rice Cooker a few weeks before — not only will it be a good device to cook all the rice I’ve hoarded over the last few years, but it will allow me to make black garlic.
To make it, all you need are just regular bulbs of garlic, a rice cooker, and a ton of patience:
- Get a bulb of garlic and tightly wrap in plastic wrap and two layers of foil. This prevents the garlic aroma from wafting throughout your home. Repeat, depending on how much black garlic you want.
- In your rice cooker, put a layer of foil at the bottom of the rice cooker pot. This prevents any garlic from burning.
- Pop your wrapped garlic bulbs into the cooker. I managed to get 8 small to medium-sized bulbs inside.
- Cook on warm (the lowest setting) for 3 weeks. My rice cooker has an auto-off feature with a limit of 10 hours, so I would have to regularly turn it back on.
- After 3 weeks, turn the device off, unwrap the bulbs, and let it dry overnight; it removes any excess moisture. Once the garlic comes out, the bulbs should feel a soft.
- Use in ramen and pork (which I did), and store your garlic in the fridge.
Overall, making black garlic was a success. I started the process on March 21st, so when April 11th rolled around, I was overjoyed that the final product worked (I can’t imagine all the people I texted).
If you’re bored and also have the patience (think of it like growing a plant from a seed), I recommend doing this. The results are worth it… and delicious.