Peeling garlic is a chore. The skin is sometimes too thin to extract, and the smell penetrates my nails and it leaves my fingers sticky. Sure, there are tools invented specifically for peeling garlic, but single-purpose items clutter my kitchen. If I were using one clove of garlic, it’d be less of an issue. As a garlic enthusiast, I go through heads of garlic in my meals, which has always required a lot of peeling. That is until I found this shortcut: crushed frozen garlic from Dorot Gardens.
This frozen food hack arrives with 20 pre-portioned cubes of crushed garlic, the equivalent of one clove, a teaspoon per cube. Some stores carry containers with 16 cubes. Instead of wrestling with peeling garlic, now I always have garlic ready to go in my freezer.
Garlic makes an appearance in all of my day-to-day cooking. Perhaps it’s because of my Thai heritage, to me, the sharpness of garlic improves every savory dish and sometimes even sweet ones! Raw garlic is common in fish sauce dips and is eaten whole between bites of wild betel leaf wraps known as miang kham. I add it to pastas, rice, soups, and porridges to bump up flavor and into the Thai treat, kanom tien—a sticky rice dumpling stuffed with garlic and black peppercorn-flecked mung beans.
The cubes can be melted and swirled with softened butter and parsley for garlic bread, sautéed in sesame oil with bok choy, and plopped into soups where it adds an inimitable complexity. It quickly dissolves in soy sauces and vinegars to make dips, marinades, and salad dressings.
Compared to fresh garlic, the flavor of Dorot is much more subdued. It lacks fresh garlic’s acrid bite, which can be advantageous for dishes that need a hit of garlic without the pungency.
The one downside is that it can only be used in recipes that call for crushed garlic; the cubes are unlikely to fare well in homemade chili crisp (too watery) or transform into crunchy, fried garlic chips.
Even if you’re adamant about using fresh garlic, it is convenient to have Dorot stocked in your freezer for culinary emergencies and for dishes where the garlic constitutes as a flavor booster, rather than a grandiose textural element that needs to be known.
I first came across these cubes in the frozen aisle of Trader Joe’s, but they are also available at Walmart, Whole Foods, and Kroger, among the frozen vegetables. Whenever I am scouring Trader Joe’s frozen aisle for orange chicken and breakfast hacks, I’m certain to load my cart with Dorot garlic cubes too (there is also a ginger version available). And at $2.29 per pack, it’s a justified kitchen shortcut.