Like others around the world, Thais widely use garlic or kratiam for its pungent-spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.
Thai garlic has more spicy and pungent flavor. However, since it is a multi-tiny-clove type that is difficult to peel and use, now the bigger-size ones imported from China and Vietnam are quite more popular. Its bulb is the most commonly consumed part, either in raw or cooked form. Sometimes, green garlic, rather like a scallion, and immature garlic’s bulbils and their stalks are also used in Thai cuisine.
For the garlic bulbs, the dry papery skin covering each its clove and its central core are removed and discarded during preparation. The cloves are often either hit to just crush with a side of a kitchen knife or chopped.
In making most Thai stir-fries, it often starts with frying the garlic cloves, in either minced or crushed form, with a little oil until fragrant and nearly golden brown before adding meat and vegetable(s) consequently. Also, the crushed cloves are popularly included in many Thai soups. These mellow and add fragrance to dishes.
Prik nam pla or Thai chili fish sauce, i.e. thin slices of garlic cloves along with shallot slices, fish sauce, chopped fresh chillies and lime juice, is a basic essential condiment often served along with dishes, so that diners can themselves season to taste.
Garlic is quite important in making most Thai curry pastes, not be neglected. Formerly, it cloves are peeled and roughly chopped to ease in grinding together with other ingredients later.
Sam (three) sahai (close friends), i.e. a mixture of garlic cloves, coriander roots and pepper ground together, combined with some sauces like oyster sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce etc., and other ingredients, is a popular marinade for meats for grilling and barbecuing.
Kra tiam jeaw or crisp fried garlic, i.e. chopped garlic cloves fried with oil over low-medium heat until crispy and golden brown, is popularly used as a garnish. Kra tiam dong or pickled garlic is also used in some Thai recipes.
Image source: Garlic – Wikipedia