I’ve been obsessed lately with black garlic. When we were traveling, I just couldn’t wait to get home and start a batch of my own. That experiment didn’t go well; despite putting the rice cooker by an open window, the entire house reeked of garlic within a few days. We moved it outside, and despite carefully following instructions, the garlic never got beyond vaguely brownish.
Of course I wasn’t going to give up that easily. Without too much time left before we need to leave the country again, we couldn’t realistically perfect the art of making our own black garlic. Instead, we searched every store for the elusive product before I finally gave up and ordered some on Amazon. The next day, we tried one last store and found it there too. So now I have a ton of it: peeled cloves, whole heads, and paste.
I love it enough to just eat it plain, but not everyone in the household is quite as enamored of big bites of it. So for certain recipes, I decided to use black garlic oil to add some of the amazing flavor without the same level of intensity.
The Problem With Making Black Garlic Oil
Trying to make this infused oil quickly hit a snag. Black garlic isn’t oil-soluble at all, so no matter how much I mashed, blended, pureed, or processed it, the result was always a sticky glob of black garlic paste covered in oil, never a homogeneous mixture.
Naturally I took to the internet. Yes, there are recipes. But no, they don’t actually use black garlic. Instead, they basically involve making a variation on garlic confit, and continuing to cook it until the cloves turn black. No doubt it’s delicious, but it’s not the same thing. (I mean, otherwise we’d just make black garlic in 45 minutes on the stove instead of taking forever to do it in a rice cooker.)
Back into the kitchen I went, to conduct experiment after experiment. Finally I settled on this method. While the oil never achieves the rich brown-black color I was hoping for (since the black garlic never dissolves into it), the flavor is there. Once you make this oil, keep it refrigerated and use within three days.
- 2 tablespoons black garlic paste (just mash black garlic cloves)
- ½ cup flavorless oil
- Mash the 2 tablespoons of black garlic paste with 1/4 cup of flavorless oil in a mortar and pestle for a few minutes. It won’t seem like anything is happening. That’s fine; do it anyway.
- Transfer the mixture from the mortar and pestle into a small saucepan, and add the remaining 1/4 cup oil.
- Turn on very, very, very low heat below the saucepan. If your stove has a small burner, use this one as low as possible.
- Very gently heat the black garlic and oil over ultra-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If it starts to simmer, turn the heat down. It’s easy to burn the black garlic during this process, which will result in an acrid flavor in the finished oil.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend for about a minute.
- Pour the blended oil mixture through cheesecloth into a clean bowl. (Don’t squeeze the cheesecloth.) The resulting oil will probably look exactly the same as when you started, but it’s now infused with the flavor of the black garlic.