What is Black Garlic

We all know the amazing health benefits of garlic. A spice commonly found in the kitchen, garlic was prescribed for a variety of medical conditions throughout ancient history. It is known for its strength and performance-enhancing properties, treatment of diseases, and maintenance of health.

What about black garlic? What is this black garlic we are talking about here?

Black Garlic Process

Black Garlic Fermentation Process. Credits to Where To Eat.

Black garlic is a functional food that was developed by Scott Kim in South Korea in 2004. It is produced by treating raw garlic bulbs with heat for a few month without any additives, until the garlic caramelizes and becomes stickily sweet. The white flesh of the garlic turns black at the end of the curing process, giving it its name.

Black garlic is now sought after worldwide as a health food and as a prized ingredient in fine dining. It has been making its way around top-notch restaurants all over the world, with trendy executive chefs developing dishes for black garlic in fish, salad, and tapas.

Health Benefits of Black Garlic


Here are 5 incredible health benefits of black garlic:

01 | Black Garlic has Cancer-Fighting Properties

The National Cancer Institute recognizes garlic as one of the several vegetables with potential anticancer properties, largely based on studies conducted that show it’s ability to block formation and activation of carcinogenic substances within the body.

Black garlic takes this up a notch. In a 2007 study conducted by Japanese researchers, the experiment showed that there is strong anti-tumor potency in black garlic as it decreased the size of tumors in mice by 50%, which were not achieved by fresh garlic.

02 | Black Garlic has Enhanced Antioxidant Properties

Through the curing process of raw garlic bulbs, the chemical composition of garlic changes significantly. The important substance in black garlic is water-soluble amino acid, S-Allylcysteine (SAC). SAC contains antioxidant properties, and is shown to have a seven-fold increase in black garlic after the aging process. This makes it a much more powerful source of antioxidants as compared to raw garlic.

Antioxidants are substances that help fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause damage to our cells and leads to negative health consequences, such as premature aging, heart disease, blocked arteries and cancer. A diet high in antioxidants helps us to counter the oxidative stress that we exert on our bodies every day.

03 | Black Garlic Enhances Your Immune System


Black garlic is an absolute life-saver when it comes to the flu season! Taking black garlic enhances your immunity by increasing the activity levels of natural killer (NK) cells. This plays a crucial role in helping your body eliminate virus infected cells and overcoming inflammation.

Black garlic is a natural immunity enhancer that you can keep in your arsenal, for when you feel you need a boost of immunity on top of eating well and exercising regularly. Consuming black garlic regularly can also help fight allergy symptoms such as rhinitis and epiphora.

04 | Black Garlic Controls Diabetes Naturally

Individuals with diabetes struggle with regulating blood sugar levels naturally, due to the insufficient or inability to produce insulin. Without antidiabetic medication, long-term hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) could lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy.

Black garlic has shown to be a natural antidiabetic medication without the side-effects that most antidiabetic medications have. Because of its enhanced antioxidant properties, black garlic has shown to produce a significant decrease in insulin resistance, and a decrease in serum glucose levels in a study conducted on mice with Type 2 diabetes characteristics.

If you are currently on antidiabetic medication, consult your doctor before consuming black garlic as the combined glucose lowering effect of both might lead to hypoglycemia.

05 | Black Garlic Supports Cardiovascular Health

Stress, the lack of sleep and physical activity, and bad eating habits are factors of a modern lifestyle that contribute to heart disease.

Black garlic has many heart-healthy benefits, such as improving blood pressure and blood lipid profiles, increasing blood circulation, and lowering cholesterol levels. In a study conducted in 2000, various water-soluble compounds of garlic were tested and found to be effective in inhibiting cholesterol synthesis by 42 to 55%, one of which is the compound S-Allylcysteine (SAC). As mentioned earlier, SAC is increased seven-fold in black garlic, which makes it a formidable natural supplement for cardiovascular health.

Singaporean Edward Goh, 50, attests to the heart-healthy benefits of black garlic as he says it has helped him lower his cholesterol levels to healthy levels without the use of medication.

Where to Buy Black Garlic in Singapore

Black Gold, a black garlic brand under Defu Foodstuff Pte Ltd., is available at major supermarkets (Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice, Giant and Shop ‘N’ Save) and various health stores (Watsons, Guardian and Unity) in Singapore.

Other online retailers in Singapore:

Black Garlic Recipes That You Should Try

Here comes the exciting part of this post – fantastic black garlic recipes that you absolutely should try!

While black garlic can be used in place of raw garlic in cooking, or as a twist to local dishes such as chicken baked rice and bak kut teh, black garlic dishes are extremely exciting as it has been lauded as a prized ingredient in the gourmet world.

01 | Black Garlic With Scallops

Black Garlic Scallop Recipe Steamy Kitchen

This recipe from Steamy Kitchen is pretty much the inspiration for this entire post. When I saw the above photograph of Jaden’s beautifully seared scallops, I was totally sold.

Jaden wrote an informative post introducing black garlic as well, be sure to check her original recipe out!

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • 16 extra-large dry-packed scallops, patted very dry (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves black garlic, thinly sliced (or use regular garlic)
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely minced jalepeno pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat a large frying pan with just 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, and when the butter is bubbling, gently lay the scallops in the pan, not touching. Sear the scallops and cook for 4 minutes, turning once. They should have a lovely golden brown color on both sides. Transfer to a platter.

To the same hot pan on high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic slices and the jalepeno pepper and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and the balsamic vinegar into the pan. Let simmer for 1 minute, season with salt and pepper and add the fresh parsley. Pour over scallops.

Photograph and recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

02 | Black Garlic Linguine

This is an easy to execute recipe that gives a simple twist to the traditional aglio olio. I like the touch of sesame oil and soy sauce, which gives a slight Chinese stir-fried noodles feel. A little of East meets West, this will be the first recipe I’d like to try!

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 450 g dry linguine
  • 8 cloves black garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta as per package instructions. Drain away cooking water and cool cooked pasta under a running tap.
  2. In a pan, heat up the vegetable oil and add the sliced black garlic.
  3. After the black garlic starts to crisp up, add in the cooked pasta and stir well.
  4. Add in sesame oil and soy sauce, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Recipe adapted from WhiteonRice.com.

03 | Mushroom and Black Garlic Risotto 

Black Garlic Risotto

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alison loves making risotto – he thinks it is extremely easy as it only involves stirring a pan. I think the process of making risotto is extremely laborious, and kindddd of do not share the same enthusiasm as he has for turning uncooked rice into risotto.

I hope this black garlic risotto recipe entices Alison to cook up a pot of risotto this weekend!


  • 1 – 1.3 litres of vegetable stock
  • 125 g butter
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 peeled cloves of black garlic. sliced
  • 400g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnoli)
  • 1 small glass of white wine
  • 225g sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 25g parmesan cheese
  • 50g mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Heat the vegetable stock until it starts to boil. Turn down the heat and let the vegetable stock simmer while cooking the risotto.
  2. In a separate pan, melt 50 g of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and season with some salt and pepper, heating slowly until cooked.
  3. In a large pan, melt another 50 g of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chopped onion. Allow the onions to sweat until soft and translucent.  Add the black garlic into the mixture and stir.
  4. Add the rice and stir until well coated. Pour in the glass of white wine, and allow it to reduce until there is no liquid left in the pan. Stir continuously.
  5. Add a ladleful of vegetable stock into the large pan, stirring continuously. As soon as all the liquid is absorbed. add in another ladleful of stock, continuing until all the rice is cooked. Stir continuously.
  6. The rice should be al-dente when it is done. Stir in the mushroom mixture, the parmesan cheese, mascarpone cheese and the juices from the pan.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from BlackGarlic.Com.

In Sum

It’s definitely worthwhile to get a hold of black garlic for its nutritional value and health benefits, and if not, for its gourmet value.

Once again, please feel free to share this content with anybody whom you think will benefit from. Let me know what you think about black garlic if you have tried it!

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