Black Garlic Noodles – Umami blast
Black garlic has been on my list of ingredients to cook with and now thanks to my friend, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen who had a package of black garlic cloves sent to me via David of Earthly Delights, black garlic is gently perfuming my kitchen with it’s mild pungence. I grew up with fiercely fermented, powerfully pungent foods, so the offer of finally trying a much anticipated aged black garlic was welcomed with open arms and drooled saliva on the kitchen floor.
Since childhood, the pungent strength of aged foods has always been a basic staple to my diet. I say “strength” because relative to all the fermented foods that I’ve had in my life, my mothers creations were of the super hero strong type, the “wait till it’s green kryptonite” type, the “make you strong” type, the kind that will “knock the jeebers out of you if you were caught on the down wind of it” type.
To this day, I’m fiercely proud to be able to eat, enjoy and appreciate the umami revelations that aged and fermented foods bring to my taste buds. So when the package of black garlic came in the mail, I tore into the box, turned on my stinky food radar and grabbed a tissue paper to catch my eminent drool.
The result of my first impression of the garlic can be of good or bad news. It’s bad because for aged food freaks like me, the garlic was much more mild than I had expected. The good, actually great, news is that the black garlic will be very, very appealing to the majority of the normal population that don’t thrive off of uber-ripe foods.
I won’t get into the history and description of the black garlic because Jaden has a great write up about it HERE, as well as some great reader feedback about it’s “superfood” benefits. But what I will delve into is how impressed I was at the flavor of each individual morsel of aged, umami blasted black garlic clove.
If you love umami laden foods, this black garlic is for you. Soft, chewy, slightly sticky, savory and flavorful heads of black garlic can bring some new levels of umami flavor and garlic depth to your cooking. I wanted to take a twist off a popular Asian garlic noodle dish and use the black garlic in place of fresh garlic. Always a curious and hungry cat, I wanted to taste the black garlic in a starch preparation, to see how the garlic would hold up to a big plate of heavy noodles.
With caution, I tested just two cloves of the black garlic with about one cup of cooked noodles. One clove was smashed, then infused in a bit of oil and the other clove was sliced thin, then fried up in a pan with a bit of oil. I noticed that on both occasions, the flavor of the black garlic was just as flavorful as when I ate it straight from the clove. But then tasted the oil itself, after the black garlic was prepared in it, and was disappointed that the oil didn’t really pick up any of the aged, umami rich, black garlic flavors.
I’m assuming that during the aging process, most of the moisture and garlic oils are dried and concentrated into the clove itself, which leaves very little flavor to infuse into the oils.
So for my second attempt, I didn’t rely on the oil to flavor the noodles as much and added double the amount of black garlic slices to flavor the noodles. The results were much, much better because each bite of the noodles had a slice of the delicious black garlic for that special kick of flavor. I was very generous with speckling the noodles with black garlic slices.
The black garlic is delicious and flavorful on it’s own and should be savored, when possible, with each individual bite.
Jaden discusses the amazing bruschetta made by Chef Mark and Jennifer. I can certainly see and taste why this bruschetta dish was so fabulous. If each bruschetta had a slice of the black garlic on top, and when eaten, the magic flavors of the black garlic would immediately be picked up by the palate. I’m craving that already, as I was with this great black garlic noodles dish. The sweet delights were music in my mouth as I slurped my noodle bowl dry.
Black Garlic Noodle Recipe
- 1/2 pound dry noodles or about 2 heaping cups of cooked noodles
- about 8 cloves black garlic , sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce
- handful of chopped cilantro or herbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Have cooked noodles ready in bowl.
- In heated pan, add grapeseed oil then add sliced black garlic. Allow black garlic to slowly sizzle in oil and slightly crisp up.
- Immediately add cooked noodles, gently toss in pan with the black garlic.
- Add sesame oil and fish sauce. Cook noodles for about another 2 minutes.
- Remove noodles from pan, add chopped cilantro and herbs. Add extra salt and pepper to taste.