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May 20, 2013 12:00 PM

Tips on how to achieve the sweetness of the garlic in Cantonese Restaurant stirfry?

Can someone share the secret to why the garlic is plentiful but not harsh in Cantonese stirfrys at the restaurant?

I imagine in the massive amount of garlic prep, for one, it sits pre-minced for much longer than I do before stirfrying.

Any other tips would be great, I love lots of sweet garlic flavour and so far I have had to cut back on garlic amount at home because it is too harsh.

Does the place where the garlic comes from (geographically) matter significantly?

much thanks!
Maybe using a non-stick wok alters the flavour compared to carbon steel?
I just seasoned my carbon steel wok, I should try it too for comparison

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  1. The extreme heat that they use hastens The caramelization (sp) process.

    1. I find that roasting garlic makes it sweet enough to eat straight up.

      1. Roasting it is key, but also there are dozens of different varieties of garlic. The trouble is FINDING variety to choose from.

        ...eagerly awaiting my farmers market to open...

        1. Reply I am sure in the Cantonese dishes I am thinking of the garlic is not roasted. It's minced, sweet and very white looking.
          It does not look caramelized. It is not crispy nor mushy.
          For example in simple garlic sauce gai lan (chinese broccoli)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Idas

            You have to start with good, fresh garlic. Then take out the sprout, which can give an aggressive, acrid taste.

          2. How are you peeling and treating the garlic?

            I was originally taught to partly smash the clove of garlic with the side of the chef knife to remove the peel and then I tended to use a press to get minced garlic. Now I remove the peel far more gently, without smashing the clove, by gently rubbing or twisting, and I tend to use the chef knife to sliver it and avoid the press. I rarely mince garlic for a stir-fry.

            The second way produces a more delicious result for the way I cook. I suspect I use more garlic my way, though.

            If the restaurant is blanching the cloves of garlic to peel them in bulk, this would also make it milder.