Garlic in sesame oil: Bitter, sweet and delicious

Garlic in sesame oil and soya sauce does elevate your dishes.

Garlic is good for you. It can combat the common cold and has numerous other health benefits. Lucky for us, Malaysians use a lot of garlic in our everyday cooking. Even as a condiment.

What can say about this aromatic?

Well, for starters, it is in the category of superfoods. Garlic is linked to reducing and possibly even preventing major health issues such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Eating garlic often can possibly reduce your risk of brain-related conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia. Now if that isn’t awesome enough, garlic can also help with hair-loss. Yes, it’s true.

Apparently, garlic is full of vitamin C which boosts collagen production that helps stimulate hair growth. Hmmm…

Perhaps this calls for a recipe for a scalp rub made with coconut oil and minced garlic. We will be smelling like stir-fry but, hey, it’s a small price to pay for a full head of hair.

Essential to Asian flavours

The fact that eating garlic regularly can be linked to a multitude of positive health benefits is great but, to be honest, Malaysians just use garlic in our food because it is an important flavour component.

It adds an essential aromatic and pungent taste which is at once bitter and sweet.

Other than the use of garlic as one of many ingredients in our recipes, garlic is also a condiment to certain dishes.

From Hainanese Chicken Rice to Prawns in Steam Egg Whites to many noodle dishes, some form of a side of garlic in sesame oil is necessary and elevates the flavours of a dish.

Here’s a quick garlic in sesame oil recipe to add oomph to many of your steamed seafood and rice dishes.


• 10 g garlic, about 2 large cloves
• 3 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tbsp light soy sauce
• ½ tsp sugar
• 1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
• ½ lime, juice only


• Slice garlic finely. Use a mandolin to make life easier but be careful with your fingers.

• In a small pan, add sesame oil and garlic. Try spreading the garlic out in a single layer so it cooks more evenly. Fry over high heat until the edges have browned slightly. It should look like it has a chewy caramelised texture. You don’t need to stir the garlic as it cooks.

Try to spread out the garlic slices so it cooks evenly.
The smell of garlic fried in sesame oil is amazing.

• Once the garlic is cooked, transfer to a bowl along with half a teaspoon of the garlic sesame oil. Add light soy sauce, sugar, pepper and lime juice. Stir to combine.

You know when the garlic is ready when you see the edges turn a light golden brown.

• Drizzle over chicken rice dishes or steamed seafood.

From garlic to crispy chilli oil

Many of our favourite Malaysian dishes include essential sides such as this garlic in sesame oil.

Other dishes may call for different but equally delicious condiments. These may include fried shallots and crispy chilli.

Check out our recipe and the technique behind making fried shallots which are extra crunchy. Crispy fried shallots are perfect tossed on top of rice or noodles of any kind.

Another favourite condiment is Crispy Chilli Oil. Malaysians love spicy food and this condiment can practically be added to any dish for a hit of fire and a little crunch.

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