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Laba Garlic Recipe

Laba garlic is a traditional Chinese dish that has been enjoyed for centuries.

This tangy and slightly sweet pickled garlic is not only a delight to your taste buds but also carries significance in Chinese culture.

Often prepared and consumed during the Laba Festival, this unique recipe has found its way into many households, adding a burst of flavor to rice, noodles, and dumplings.

To make laba garlic, you’ll need purple garlic, rice vinegar, sugar, and occasionally some additional spices or herbs for an extra kick.

The process involves preparing a vinegar solution with sugar and salt, then soaking the garlic cloves in the brine for up to three weeks, resulting in a beautiful transformation in taste and color.

Don’t be surprised if the garlic turns from a white hue to a vibrant blue or green, as this natural phenomenon occurs due to the reaction between garlic’s sulfur compounds and vinegar.

In this article, we’ll guide you step by step on how to create your own delicious batch of Laba garlic.

With some patience and easy-to-source ingredients, you’ll soon be able to enjoy this flavorful Chinese condiment in your dishes or simply as a snack.

How to Make Laba Garlic

Ingredients List

  • 250-gram fresh garlic
  • 200g of white sugar
  • 400ml of mature vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5-star anise
  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 tsp of salt

Step-by-step process

Step 1

Preparation: Start by peeling the fresh garlic cloves, ensuring there are no impurities.

Rinse the cloves thoroughly under running water.

Blanching: In a pot filled with boiling water, blanch the garlic cloves for about 1 minute.

This will soften the garlic and prepare it for the action of garlic enzymes.

After blanching, drain the water and set the garlic aside.

Step 2

Vinegar preparation: In a saucepan, combine 400ml of mature vinegar, 200g of white sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 star anise, 2 dried red chili peppers, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Slowly heat the vinegar mixture on the stove while stirring.

Make sure not to let it boil, as excessive heat can affect the final taste of Laba garlic.

Cooling the mixture: After the sugar and salt are dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Step 3

Pickling: Place the blanched garlic cloves in a sterilized glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Pour the cooled vinegar mixture onto the garlic cloves, ensuring they are fully submerged.

Seal the jar tightly.

Fermentation: Store the jar with the garlic cloves in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks.

This will provide enough time for the garlic cloves to fully absorb the flavors from the vinegar mixture, resulting in a traditional, delicious Chinese dish called Laba garlic.

Now, your Laba garlic is ready! It can be enjoyed in various ways, such as a side dish condiment, or incorporated into other dishes that call for its unique sweet and savory flavor.

Side Dishes for Laba Garlic

Laba garlic is a popular Chinese pickled side dish or condiment known for its unique sweet and savory flavor.

When incorporating Laba garlic into your meals, several side dishes can complement its flavor and enhance your dining experience.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a classic Chinese dish and a versatile option to enjoy with Laba garlic.

Its mild flavors can be tailored to your preferences, including the addition of proteins like chicken, shrimp, or tofu.

Adding Laba garlic to your fried rice not only contributes a tangy, sweet taste but also enhances its overall flavor profile.

Chinese Dumplings

Chinese dumplings, or “jiaozi,” come in various fillings like pork, shrimp, or vegetables and are typically served with a dipping sauce.

Laba garlic can be incorporated into the dipping sauce or added as a topping to the dumplings themselves, adding a delightful tang and depth to your dumplings.

These side dishes are just a few examples of the many options that can be served with Laba garlic.

By trying different combinations and exploring various ingredients, you can create an exciting and delicious menu filled with unique Chinese flavors.

Ingredient Substitutes

When making a Laba garlic recipe, you may need to substitute some ingredients depending on what you have available.

Here are a few alternative substitutes that can be used:

Vinegar-Preserved Garlic

If you do not have access to fresh garlic, vinegar-preserved garlic can also be used in a Laba garlic recipe.

Just be sure to rinse off any excess vinegar before using it in your recipe. Otherwise, the final product might be too sour.

How to Store Laba Garlic

Storing Laba Garlic properly is essential to maintain its flavor and freshness.

Here are some guidelines on how to store Laba Garlic effectively:

Use a clean, airtight container or glass jar.

When storing Laba Garlic, it’s important to choose a clean and airtight container.

Glass jars are the best choice as they are non-reactive and easy to clean.

Make sure to sterilize the jar by boiling it in hot water for about 10 minutes and letting it dry completely before adding the Laba Garlic.

Keep it in a cool and dark place.

Laba Garlic should be stored away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity.

A cool and dark place like a pantry or cupboard is ideal for preserving its flavor and color.

By following these storage guidelines and tips, you can ensure your Laba Garlic stays fresh, flavorful, and safe to consume for an extended period.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using the wrong vinegar

While preparing Laba garlic, using the wrong type of vinegar can make a significant difference in taste and color.

Traditionally, rice vinegar is used for pickling garlic; however, you might find recipes that suggest using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

It’s essential to stick to the original recipe and use rice vinegar to get the authentic taste and chemical reaction resulting in a unique green-blue color.

Skipping the garlic root cleaning process

One common mistake is neglecting to clean the garlic root properly.

Make sure to thoroughly clean the garlic cloves and remove any dirt or debris present in the garlic root area to ensure a better-quality end product.

Paying attention to these small steps will help you achieve the best-tasting Laba garlic.

Rushing the pickling process

Laba garlic’s flavor develops over time, so it’s essential not to rush the pickling process.

Give the garlic cloves sufficient time to absorb the vinegar and sugar mixture, allowing the chemical reactions and rings of carbon to form the unique green-blue hue.

Patience is key, and it usually takes about three weeks for Laba garlic to develop its full flavor and color.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can prepare delicious, authentic Laba garlic that is true to its traditional roots and enjoy it as a condiment or an addition to various Chinese dishes.

laba garlic recipe

Laba Garlic Recipe

Laba garlic is a traditional Chinese dish that has been enjoyed for centuries.
This tangy and slightly sweet pickled garlic is not only a delight to your taste buds but also carries significance in Chinese culture.
Often prepared and consumed during the Laba Festival, this unique recipe has found its way into many households, adding a burst of flavor to rice, noodles, and dumplings.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Pickling time 21 days
Total Time 21 days 10 minutes
Servings 12
Equipment
  • 1 pot
  • 1 jar
  • 1 saucepan
Ingredients
  
  • 250- gram fresh garlic
  • 200 g of white sugar
  • 400 ml of mature vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5- star anise
  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 tsp of salt
Instructions
 
  • Preparation: Start by peeling the fresh garlic cloves, ensuring there are no impurities.
    Rinse the cloves thoroughly under running water.
    Blanching: In a pot filled with boiling water, blanch the garlic cloves for about 1 minute.
    This will soften the garlic and prepare it for the action of garlic enzymes.
    After blanching, drain the water and set the garlic aside.
  • Vinegar preparation: In a saucepan, combine 400ml of mature vinegar, 200g of white sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 star anise, 2 dried red chili peppers, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
    Slowly heat the vinegar mixture on the stove while stirring.
    Make sure not to let it boil, as excessive heat can affect the final taste of Laba garlic.
    Cooling the mixture: After the sugar and salt are dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. 
  • Pickling: Place the blanched garlic cloves in a sterilized glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
    Pour the cooled vinegar mixture onto the garlic cloves, ensuring they are fully submerged.
    Seal the jar tightly.
    Fermentation: Store the jar with the garlic cloves in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks.
    This will provide enough time for the garlic cloves to fully absorb the flavors from the vinegar mixture, resulting in a traditional, delicious Chinese dish called Laba garlic.
    Now, your Laba garlic is ready! It can be enjoyed in various ways, such as a side dish condiment, or incorporated into other dishes that call for its unique sweet and savory flavor. 

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