You either love it or love to hate it, there is nothing else when it comes to garlic. Loved for its aroma, pungency, and zest, it is interestingly hated for the very same reasons.
Garlic, one of the earliest known flavouring and seasoning plant has been a part of the culinary history of many civilisations. Native to Asia, this plant was domesticated during the Neolithic times. Over time people became aware of its nutritional value and health benefits, making it an essential part of many cuisines.
It is believed that garlic plant was identified by ancient Indians who domesticated it around 6000 years ago. Around 3000 BC garlic was introduced to Babylonian and Assyrian empires by Indian traders.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician prescribed garlic for many health conditions and illnesses. He suggested using garlic for respiratory problems, digestion, and fatigue shares Richard S. Rivlin.
Fresh garlic has a sulphur containing compound, Allicin that is released when a garlic clove is crushed or chopped. This is responsible for the antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, and beneficial for treating heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.
Rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc, garlic does pack a punch.
How to Include Garlic in Everyday Meals?
Here are simple ways of including garlic in your meals. Apart from adding crushed garlic to dals, sabzis, soups, parathas you can also cook it in oil with red chilli powder like a seasoning and add to a plain khichadi, and dalia while eating. This oil can be applied to dhoklas and muthiyas.
A simple chutney that can be made every day by crushing a few cloves of garlic, green chillies and salt.
Crush 4-5 garlic cloves add to melted butter with chilli flakes. Apply to parathas and toast.
Roast garlic cloves on a griddle. Mash and add to season any dal or vegetable.
Add garlic to wet and dry chutneys and masalas.
Garlic greens come to the market in winter. These are highly pungent but if cooked properly you get multiple health benefits. Using in small quantities takes care of its pungency and helps to relish the taste.
Garlic Greens Chutney
2 sprigs of garlic greens
2 green chilies
3 Tbsp roasted groundnuts
¼ tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Chop the greens, green chillies, groundnuts, cumin seeds and salt. Add lemon juice.
Garlic Greens Roti
This winter delicacy is easy to make and adds antioxidants and minerals to your diet.
1/2 cup chopped garlic greens
1/4 cup finely chopped methi
3 green chillies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup gram flour
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
Grind garlic greens, methi leaves, and green chillies with 2 tbsp of water. Mix wheat and gram flour, add the green paste and salt. Add a little oil and knead. Roll rotis, and cook on an iron griddle for one minute. Turn the roti and sprinkle sesame seeds and let it cook on both sides until done.
Roast 2-3 garlic cloves and have it with a teaspoon of honey to treat colds, sore throat, and flu.
Grind 2 garlic cloves and add to a glass of buttermilk with a pinch of salt. This is good for digestion.
Topical application of garlic paste helps to treat fungal infections and provides relief from eczema. Do a patch test to find out if this suits your skin.
Rub crushed garlic mixed with coconut oil into your scalp to control dandruff and control hair loss. (do a patch test before applying to the whole scalp).
Before deciding to adopt these practices please consult your physician as garlic is a powerful herb and may have adverse side effects. Try including garlic in small quantity to check if it is suitable.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting, and travel.)