Using Garlic in Bengali & Indian Cooking Explained

Garlic is a ‘wonder’ ingredient in many Indian cuisines. It is used for its strong flavour, pungent taste and capability of thickening. There are some Indians who don’t use garlic in their cuisines due to religious reasons.

Those who use garlic in cooking, often pair it with onion, ginger and tomato to make thicker and more flavourful gravy. It is either chopped or grated to be used in cooking. Garlic is also baked when preparing certain types of bread and even consumed raw.

Garlic offers some medicinal values. According to different studies, it is a natural blood thinner and hence, good for those with cardiovascular diseases. Garlic has antioxidant properties which are believed to have a role in cancer prevention.

Garlic in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Garlic in Bengali & Indian Cooking


Onion and garlic fry is a favourite with many Bengalis. Truly speaking, I know many Bengalis (me included) who can eat a bowl of rice with musoor dal and this fry. Mix it with smashed boiled potatoes. Simple yet tasty!

Garlic fries with black cumin seeds are often served to those suffering from cough and cold or having fever. It is believed to restore one’s appetite.


Garlic is used in a few veg and many non-veg curries. Chopped garlic or garlic paste is a common ingredient in raw jackfruit curry.

Used in tandem with onion paste or finely chopped onion, ginger paste and tomato puree, garlic adds a strong flavour to the curry and also thickens the same.

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Though in Bengal, garlic is usually not used in cooking cabbage or cauliflower, the scenario is quite different in some parts of Bihar. Ginger-garlic paste lends the veg curries a distinct, powerful flavour.

Add garlic for a different and delectable take on any traditional paneer recipe. It works as a flavour enhancer and taste amplifier as well.

So, from comforting palak paneer to rich shahi paneer, homemade cottage cheese finds a flattery companion in garlic to make a wild and wonderful riot of flavours on your taste buds. You will love every soft, spongy bite off paneer, I promise.

Chopped garlic is used in cooking sarson saag (mustard greens). The Flavor of garlic is overpowering and gets into saag, making it more delicious.

Think about any rich, royal non-veg dish and garlic is a common find in almost all of them.

From dimer kosha to chicken rezala, Awadhi gosht to Lucknow biryani, nothing is so lustrous and luscious without garlic. It works both as a thickening and flavouring agent.

Tikka and kebab without garlic? Well, you are free to explore but will they taste the same? Even if you are not sure, right?


Garlic bread or lahsun roti is a traditional Indian breakfast recipe. Prepared with a mix of wheat, joar, bajra and oats, this garlic bread is a nutrition-rich dish that you can pack in your kid’s tiffin box or incorporate in your lunch menu as well.

It is tasty and tummy-filling. Furthermore, it won’t cost you a lot of sweat in the kitchen!

Naan and garlic – sounds yummy. You can never go wrong with this divine pairing. Just toss some chopped garlic in your dough. The tandoored wheat bread is exquisitely flavoured and delicious. Serve it with green chutney or veg/non-veg curry for a wholesome meal.

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Garlic bread is the new sensation for the bakers and foodies as well. Garlic is pasted as a layer on the dough which is then slid into the microwave.

The overwhelming flavour that garlic brings to the bread is impossible to ignore. Try it in your home; you will love it.

Garlicky meethi dhokla is an innovative twist to Gujarati dhokla. This is a faster alternative to the traditional recipe.

The no-fussy dish takes just 15 minutes to cook. The innovative twist brought by garlic is pretty tempting. Serve it with pudina and coconut chutney.

Garlic rasam, fondly called as poondu rasam in South India, is dense with flavours and nutrients. Garlic cloves are simmered in tamarind water, finally tempered by red chillies and mustard seeds.

This popular South Indian delicacy goes strong with medu vada.


Garlic is used to prepare comforting soups, especially in summer. Garlic lentil and tomato soup is one such summer delight. Garlic is used to perk up the flavour and nutritional profile.

Garlicky lentil dip is another delicacy for the soup lovers. Tender red lentils soak in the flavour of garlic, with subtle aromatic infusion brought by cumin, chilli powder and lemon juice. Relish pungency of garlicky lentil dip with break sticks for some snappy fun.

Garlic vegetable soup is a tempting recipe. An assortment of fibre-rich vegetables makes it a flavourful fare of nutrients.


Dry garlic chutney or sukha lahsun ki chutney is a popular condiment in Maharashtra where it is famously known as lasun khobra chutney.

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This is a 4-ingredient wonder prepared with garlic, coconut, chilli powder and coconut oil. A no-fuss recipe that can be prepared in a jiffy!

Gujrati-style garlic chutney is a fiery teaser for your taste buds. It makes a perfect side dish with bhajjis, pakoras etc. Refrigerate it for a few hours before serving.

Hare lahsun ki chutney is a lip-smacking delicacy prepared with fresh green garlic, coriander leaves, chopped green chillies, chana dal and lemon juice. A smooth, silky blend is a teaser for eyes. It works great with muthia, dhokla and all types of Indian snacks.


Garlic and deserts? Have you gone mad? Well, it is a lesser known delicacy prepared with garlic.

Believe me, you won’t feel the flavour of garlic; instead a buttery smooth texture flavoured with cardamom powder and ghee and decorated with dry fruits will leave you awestruck with its aroma.

How Does Garlic Taste?

Raw garlic offers a pungent taste. When cooked, garlic emits a soft, sweet and buttery flavour.

What is Garlic Called in Different Languages?

Garlic is called rasun in Bengali and lahsun in Hindi.

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