Fried Garlic in Oaxaca (Ajos Fritos?)
I'm trying to reproduce a snack one of my friends found in Oaxaca. I believe it's called Ajos Fritos -- essentially garlic that has been fried in its casing and dusted with salt and chile powder. (see photo)
At first glance, it seems as simple as simply deep frying them until done. I'm not sure, however, if they need any other preparation beforehand.
I've exhausted google searches so if anyone has suggestions, I'd appreciate the help.
I live here is Oaxaca and I buy at lot of this wonderful garlic. I have asked some local cooks here and they are, as I expected, not deep-fried but cooked on a comal like most everything else here.
A comal is a large (3 feet diameter) traditionally clay platter with a slight bowl to keep the food in the middle. (check these pictures for a better idea - http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-phot...
)The ceramic comals are treated with a liquid of white cal and become almost "teflon". Many newer comals are metal.
The garlic originally was not a separate snack but added to the peanuts. When the peanuts are cooked they have oil in them so little extra is needed. The peanuts, garlics, and chilis are put on the comal and watched and tossed a little and perhaps a little oil will be added. When the garlics are cooked on their own, more oil has to added. One source said the garlics are soaked in the oil for a short time. The garlic here in Oaxaca is different than in the US. The garlic cloves are much smaller (here called "teeth") and the peel is softer. So peeling the garlic before eating them while drinking your beer would be to tedious so all but the biggest ones are eaten peel and all.
So after all that - to do it at home would probably be best as a stir-fry over a medium heat, adding a little oil, but certainly much. I would add a little as needed like they do with cooking on the comal. You could try the oven idea, but certainly not traditional - having an oven here is a very new experience and only the middle or upper class would own them. And they would buy there garlic. I have my favorite mix down to a science. One bag of very spicy peanuts, one bag of non-spiced peanuts, and 2 bags of garlic.
It is interesting here, aside from one "mole" type dish that uses peanuts and isn't very common, peanuts are exclusively eaten only as botanas or appetizers. they are either served with the red peel and cooked like above, or grown or purchased raw and cooked on the comal, so that the shell is quite black and then eaten again as a botana.
Probably more than you want to know - I love the food of oaxaca and i tend to be passionalte.
Depending on where the OP lives they may be able to get Mexican Red Garlic as it is called here.
We were served the Garlic-Chili peanuts almost every where we had a drink in Oaxaca city. I think that the chilies were Arbols and all had a "health" amount of salt. A great drinking snack, nibble a bit of toasted chili, a couple of peanuts and a sip of the local Mescal, great!
I know this off the original topic but I have seen a few sauces and Moles in Mexico with peanuts but as you said not the most common.
A few do stand out though;
from Veracruz a green mole and a red sauce made with Arbol for encacahuatado de cerdo.
fromZacatecas a creamy chili and peanut sauce for chicken enchiladas.
from Durango a very simple mole for Bisteses de Res en Mole de Cacahuate.
There are more of course I think I remember seeing them used in one of the red moles of Oaxaca as well.
These Mexican style garlic are not deep fried but roasted. Check this simple recipe to achieve the same effect.
Recipe for Roasted Garlic:
Ingredients : whole heads of garlic, olive oil, salt, Rosemary, fresh or dry.
Heat up oven to 250 c
Peel of the outer layer of dry skin.
Place garlic on aluminum foil or on tray.
Drizzle with olive oil, generously, salt and crushed rosemary.
Roast it in the oven covered with foil until the garlic is done to your choice.
Interesting. They don't appear to have been deep fried, and I would think they are an antojito that needs to be peeled before it's eaten? I thought of a garlic sauce that Cueva del Pescador in Axumal serves with boquinette, nice size chunks of garlic fried in oil until it is crispy and delicious.