Over the past few months, I have been exploring Mediterranean cuisine. One difference I find between it and Indian cuisine is the way garlic is used. Often in Mediterranean dishes, garlic is used raw. For instance, in gazpacho, garlic is blended into a soup that is itself uncooked. Also, in a classic cucumber dip, finely chopped raw garlic, along with mint, gives the dish its distinctive flavor.
In Indian cuisine, on the other hand, garlic is generally not used uncooked except perhaps in pickles. Raw garlic can smell pungent to many Indian diners. Bengali cooks, for instance, think that even quickly sautéing helps to temper the sharp flavor. Frying or roasting, of course, imparts a nutty fragrance to the condiment.
How do you like your garlic, dear reader? Cooked or uncooked?