Well, I worry no longer, for I recalled a recipe that I had posted on GroupRecipes that had caused a little bit of a stir, so to speak. I talk of spicy, yet sour, yet sweet, intensely flavoured Pickled Garlic. It uses cloves, which I know is technically a spice (actually, a flower bud, as I discovered) but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that both the kind creator and the wonderful hostess (who is Katerina from Daily Unadventures in Cooking, this time around) will forgive my slight variation from the original theme.
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly. In north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost every sauce or side dish made, mostly ground up along with other spices. They are also a key ingredient in tea along with green cardamoms. In south Indian cuisine, it finds extensive use in the biryani dish (similar to the pilaf, but with the addition of local spice taste), and is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.
In Chinese medicine, cloves are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, and enter the Kidney, Spleen and Stomach channels. They are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct Stomach qi downward, and to fortify the Kidney yang.
However, cloves can be irritating to the GI tract, and should be avoided by people with gastric ulcers, colitis, or IBS. In overdoses, cloves can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and upper GI hemorrhage. Severe cases can lead to changes in liver function, dyspnea, loss of consciousness, hallucination, and even death!
You know what, though? I'm willing to take that risk for this treat! These are great straight from the jar, or mash them into vegetables or steak!
Persian Sugar-Pickled Garlic
4 heads garlic
2 small dried Thai peppers
1 cup sugar
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups water
8 whole cloves
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- Separate garlic cloves, but do not peel.
- Place all ingredients in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a large glass jar large enough to hold garlic and the liquid, seal tightly.
- Refrigerate at least 6 months before serving.
- The garlic improves with age for as long as 15 years!