Onion and garlic

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Joined Apr 23, 2015
How do you do with onion and garlic?

Do you always cook it translucent or do you Brown it? For example for stews, casserole and soup I throw them in raw. and for some other dishes like, stir fry or risotto I cook them translucent.

And for some other like a roasted garlic cream sauce I roast the garlic slightly.

And then in curries I tend to almost caramelize the onions not the garlic. But why do you not do that for like casserole as well?

In which cases should you definitely not brown the onion/garlic?


Sorry many thoughts here!!:)
 
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4,725
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This could well be the basis for a monthly challenge in the near future.

As you pointed out there are a lot of variations. It all depends on what you are trying to do.  For an Ethiopian wat you caramelize a lot of onions, for a French friccassee no browning.  I make what I call sweet onion soup, where the onions are cooked low and slow in butter, avoiding any browning.  It is different than French onion soup. Not better or worse, different.

When doing stir fry, I often put garlic cloves in cold oil in the wok, turn on the heat, and when the garlic is well browned remove it from the oil and throw away, the garlic scented oil is ready for cooking. Any form of onions that go into it are just barely cooked, not browned at all.

Yes, a lot of variation, room for different approaches for ingredients common to so many cultures.

mjb.
 
7,676
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
To me the answer is more black and white on this. In standard technique I sweat onion and garlic for stews, always. I never just throw onion and garlic raw into anything unless it's meant to be eaten raw like in tabbouleh or tzatziki.
 
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I like onion in potato salad.  To many raw onion leaves an aftertaste.  I now cook my diced onions with the potatoes and eliminate the aftertaste.   
 
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Joined Apr 23, 2015
I use only raw onions for Potatoe salad, never brown onion! Just red onion/leek/spring onions/chives and sometimes garlic as well!
 
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It has to be mentioned that garlic will taste different depending on how it is cut, or not cut. Minced v sliced v whole, and raw v lightly sautéed v roasted. Minced garlic generally shouldn't be sautéed more that a few seconds until aromatic, or they just taste bitter and burnt. Unless of course that is what you are after.

Onions also provide texture and body as well as flavor. Sliced v chopped v brunoise v minced also have flavor differences when cooked simply as a result of size. I think everybody here know this, though.

/Shrug. 

But method depends entirely on the dish. Sometimes sweating onions to translucent is desired, and other times caramelized for depth of flavor. Sometimes crispy onions or shallots add that flavor as a garnish on stews, where the base onion is simply sweat until translucent at the beginning. I've made other dishes where the onions are sweat for a long time, but not caramelized. How they are cut, as I said, depends a lot on what the desired effect is. I can't remember the last time I cooked spring onions for any length of time, other than grilling. I usually toss them sliced into curries or soups in Thai or Chinese (inspired) dishes. And potato salad.   : )

I do have a pet peave : I can't stand it when caramelized onions is listed as an ingredient in food and what you get are just chopped and sweat until just past translucent. Caramelized onions must have color. Lots of it. Thickness of slice is also important. I personally prefer thinly sliced, but I've seen fat slices and roughly chopped, as well.  
 
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7,676
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I use only raw onions for Potatoe salad, never brown onion! Just red onion/leek/spring onions/chives and sometimes garlic as well!
Oh you must try it then, caramelized onions in potato salad are wonderful!  They are sweet and delicious.

@jake t buds  I agree about getting limp half cooked onions in a dish where caramelized onions are promised.  On the other hand for some people it is very difficult to caramelize onions because if the heat is a smidge too high you've got burnt onions.  It happens a lot.
 
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cerise

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How do you do with onion and garlic?

Do you always cook it translucent or do you Brown it? For example for stews, casserole and soup I throw them in raw. and for some other dishes like, stir fry or risotto I cook them translucent.

And for some other like a roasted garlic cream sauce I roast the garlic slightly.

And then in curries I tend to almost caramelize the onions not the garlic. But why do you not do that for like casserole as well?

In which cases should you definitely not brown the onion/garlic?
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It depends on the dish. There are many varities of onions.

Sometimes I want the "bite" of an onion, and sometimes not. You can soak the onion if you don't care for the "bite." Again, just depends on one's taste and the dish and flavor profile you want to achieve. Tried elephant garlic years ago. The flavor is milder IMO, than reg garlic. Roasted garlic IMO is milder than raw. Scallions on the grill take on another flavor profile, rather than raw. Have you tried black garlic?

I'm also reminded of a scene from Goodfellas(?), where garlic was sliced paper thin w a razor blade and added to pasta sauce/Sunday gravy.
 
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33
10
Joined Apr 23, 2015
How do you do with onion and garlic?

Do you always cook it translucent or do you Brown it? For example for stews, casserole and soup I throw them in raw. and for some other dishes like, stir fry or risotto I cook them translucent.

And for some other like a roasted garlic cream sauce I roast the garlic slightly.

And then in curries I tend to almost caramelize the onions not the garlic. But why do you not do that for like casserole as well?

In which cases should you definitely not brown the onion/garlic?
------...

It depends on the dish. There are many varities of onions.

Sometimes I want the "bite" of an onion, and sometimes not. You can soak the onion if you don't care for the "bite." Again, just depends on one's taste and the dish and flavor profile you want to achieve. Tried elephant garlic years ago. The flavor is milder IMO, than reg garlic. Roasted garlic IMO is milder than raw. Scallions on the grill take on another flavor profile, rather than raw. Have you tried black garlic? .
.

Have tried the black garlic just as it is, but never with a dish! It tasted a little bit like licorice.
 
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