This recipe isn't difficult, but it takes a lot of time. First the garlic has to pickle in vinegar (our homemade white wine vinegar in this case) and then it is allowed to pickle in a mixture of soy sauce and sugar.
I tried the garlic pickles tonight (their pickling time was finally up) and was amazed at how crisp the garlic cloves are especially considering how much the soy sauce seemed to be fermenting in the jar. Yup, they were crisp and fresh tasting!
They taste exactly like you'd expect, like soy flavored garlic with a hint of sweetness. I just didn't expect them to be so crisp.
I don't like these nearly as much as the Honey Garlic Pickles and I probably won't make them again. But having a bit of garlic flavored soy sauce might be kind of fun while it lasts. The pickles will certainly get used in as many Asian dishes that I can think to put them in. And it's definitely an interesting way to preserve garlic.
Garlic in Soy Sauce
from Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu
10 whole garlic bulbs
2 cups rice vinegar (we didn't have any so used our homemade White Wine Vinegar)
1 1/4 cups soy sauce
2 TBS sugar
"Quite a few people dislike the strong smell of garlic. I learned this recipe in Korea and now it's everyone's favorite since the vinegar-pickling process reduces the characteristic odor."
The recipe reduces the odor of the garlic considerably as claimed by the book, but this is replaced by the unmistakable smell and taste of soy sauce.
Choose round bulbs so they will form pretty plum blossoms when cut horizontally in half.
Peel the outer skin with your hands leaving only one layer of skin. (Okay, this part was a pain.)
Trim away the stems for tight packing.
Sterilize a small pickling jar in boiling water. Pack it with garlic bulbs.
Pour rice vinegar to cover. Let stand in a dark place for two weeks.
Remove 2/3 amount of vinegar. Save this vinegar for salad dressings as it will have a nice garlic flavor to it now.
Mix soy sauce and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Pour over the garlic and cover with the lid. Let this jar sit in a dark place for a minimum of two months (not the refrigerator).
Just before serving cut horizontally in half.
I can't imagine serving garlic like this. I don't know how garlic is served in Japan, I can't imagine just eating it straight. Chopped up in something, certainly, but to serve it like the above photo? Really? This is a traditional recipe by a Japanese, um, pickler, so I can only imagine that some Koreans (where the author got the recipe) as well as Japanese must sometimes eat garlic straight along with a meal.
Not me! I'll be using it in stir-fry, fried rice, Asian style soups, and who knows what else. But not straight.
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