I was thrilled to discover green garlic (also called spring garlic) during my last visit to my Indian grocery store. It looks like a green onion with a bulb that looks like a clove of garlic. When I brought home a bunch, I learned that green garlic is immature garlic, harvested before the clove divides and a whole bulb develops. Fresh green garlic gives off the aroma of garlic so it should be used quickly before everything in your refrigerator absorbs the smell. Unlike garlic bulbs, it has a very short shelf life; the green leaves begin to dry out and turn brown, and the bulbs yellow and shrivel after a few days.
Green garlic can be used raw or cooked. When used raw, its flavor is less strong and a little bit bitterer than a clove of garlic. It is crunchy and can be used in any recipe where fresh garlic is used. When cooked, the flavor softens and becomes a little sweeter. Roasting and grilling green garlic, in my opinion, are the best ways to cook it, as the resulting flavor is heavenly. Green garlic can be substituted for regular garlic in any recipe. The entire plant is edible. Just trim off the root end of the bulb and the dried ends of the leaves. A small part of the stalk has a brown, woody texture, even though it can be eaten, most people discard this part. The tender green leaves have more garlic flavor than the bulbs and brighten any dish or can be used as a garnish.
Green garlic is only available in the springtime before large bulbs begin to form on the plants. It is usually available in farmers markets from March through May (more or less). Seeing it, though, lets us know that spring is on the way! Green garlic can easily be grown at home in a garden or in pots. It is same plant, just harvested early.
I have found just a few Indian recipes that use green garlic. Most use it to enhance dal or vegetable dishes while several chutney and raita recipes feature it as the main ingredient. Based on my recent experience with green garlic, it would be a wonderful addition to any Indian recipe.
For that matter, add green garlic to any recipe. Add one or two to scrambled eggs or pizza. However you use it, I guarantee you will become hooked on green garlic’s flavor. Below are my two favorite recipes for Grilled Green Garlic and Roasted Green Garlic Chutney.
Grilled Green Garlic
1 bunch green garlic
1. Wash the green garlic. Cut off the roots and the tough ends of the leaves. Dry on a paper towel.
2. Lay the whole garlic pieces on a baking sheet. Toss with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Lightly oil your grill pan or the outside grill.
4. Place on the hot grill and cook until tender and starts to brown. Turn the garlic halfway through cooking.
A few pieces of the roasted green garlic can be served on each plate or it can be roughly chopped and served as a side dish. Roasted green garlic can be added to any recipe. Tastes great with any chicken or meat dish.
Roasted Green Garlic Chutney
My Roasted Green Garlic Chutney is a delicious variation on more popular ones. It has a rich, smooth flavor that can accompany any meal. I found that my husband loves it on crackers as a snack. Very versatile!
1 full cup green garlic
1 tsp oil, plus more for roasting
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbs cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin, plus more for roasting
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for roasting
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more for roasting
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
1/4 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash the green garlic. Cut off the roots and the tough ends of the leaves. Dry on a paper towel.
3. Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil.
4. Lay the garlic pieces on the baking sheet. Toss with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper.
5. Roast until tender and starts to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the garlic halfway through cooking. Let cool before proceeding.
6. Roughly chop the roasted green garlic.
7. Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and grind until smooth. Stir in the water.
Tastes great with any chicken or meat dish or even as a spread for an appetizer.
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