Maneul Jangajji (Korean Pickled Garlic)


This recipe was recently published on the Guardian as part of The 10 Best Garlic Recipes. It was a great honor for me to have my recipe included! 

Pickled garlic (maneul jangajji – 마늘장아찌) is a staple side dish in Korea. It’s one of my father’s favorite dishes. Jeju Island, where my parents are from, is well known for its abundance of quality garlic. We used to get the freshest garlic shipped from our relatives in Jeju — sometimes green garlic and other times mature garlic. Either way, my parents always pickled some of them. The garlic cloves are first soaked in a vinegar brine for a few days and then pickled in a soy brine. Through this two-step process, the garlic loses much of its pungent bite and becomes slightly sweet and tangy. It’s important to use fresh garlic for pickling. Serve with rice or as an accompaniment to any main dish. The garlic infused soy brine can be used as a dipping or seasoning sauce.  


Ingredients:
1 pound fresh garlic (about 8 – 9 whole heads)
For the vinegar brine:
2/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 and 1/3 cups water
For the soy brine:
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 and 1/3 cups water
1-quart jar with a lid (The photo above shows two batches.)
Separate the garlic cloves from the bulbs. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes or longer. Soaking the garlic helps the skins come off easily. Peel and remove the root ends with a small knife. Rinse and drain. Add to the jar.
Stir the vinegar brine ingredients together until the salt is dissolved. Pour over the garlic cloves. The liquid should fully cover the garlic cloves. Let stand at room temperature for 5 – 7 days. 
Bring the soy brine ingredients to a boil, and gently boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Allow to cool completely. Drain the vinegar brine from the jar. Pour the cooled soy brine over the garlic cloves. Make sure all the garlic cloves are fully covered. Close tightly with a lid, and let stand at room temperature for 2 weeks. The garlic can be eaten at this point, but it will taste better as it matures. 
Refrigerate after opening. The garlic cloves will keep for a few months.

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Comments

  1. Can you use honey instead of sugar?
    Also, what is meant by Fresh garlic? From the store [which is aged] or from the ground, [which hasn’t been aged/cured]

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you rinse the garlic after you discard the initial brine?

  3. Anonymous says:

    A lovely Korean acquaintance recently offered me some of her mother’s pickled garlic scapes, which were delicious and which I hope to replicate given that garlic shoots (with buds) are now in the market. Her garlic shoots were seasoned with chili paste. Is that traditional as well?

    • Yes, that’s very traditional for pickled garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are versatile. You can do a lot of different things with them. Check out my stir-fried version too. Thanks!

  4. Wow! I love Korean food and have been enjoying attempting recipes I’ve found on the internet. Just discovered your ‘treasure trove’ of a blog! I can’t wait to try out the pickled garlic!! To think I could eat one of my favorites as a side dish! A new and eager subscriber.

  5. Is it ok if the garlic turns blue during the first brine?

  6. Can I substitute low sodium soy sauce in place of regular soy sauce? I love your food blogs. Please keep on blogging!

  7. just peeled a lot of garlic and its pickling cant wait for it to be done then the soy brine love love Korean food and your blog is very well done thank you

  8. Can I use low sodium soy sauce for this recipe?

  9. I ‘ve been soaking the garlic in the brine for 2 days now. There are tiny bubbles developed on the surface of the brine. What did I do wrong. I followed your direction to a t. Is this normal or should I start over again. Thank you!

  10. Steven says:

    Do you suggest rice vinegar or regular white vinegar?

  11. can you also make and omit soy sauce, just pickled ?

  12. Can you reuse the brine? If so, do we need to boil the soy brine the second time? Thanks.

    • Yes you can. Boil it with a bit more soy sauce because your brine is most likely diluted by the moisture of the garlic cloves. Hope this helps. Thanks for using my recipe!

  13. Love Korean pickled garlic and really want to try your recipe asap :) what kind of vinegar do I need to use? There are several kinds of it where I live.

    • I’d like to use Korean rice vinegar, but white (plain) vinegar or any other clear vinegar is fine. Thanks for using my recipe!

  14. THE GARLIC CLOVES FLOAT ON THE TOP OF THE SOY BRINE… IS IT OKAY?

  15. I love eating this dish but never attempted to make it until now. I am have some concerns halfway through the process. I placed the garlic in the vinegar brine for about 6 days and now they have a greenish-blue tint. Could you tell me the canning process you use because I think the air in my containers caused the garlic to go bad.

  16. Wht kind of vinegar u use?

  17. nancy kuhn says:

    I am in the process of making your pickled garlic cloves. I have the first brine on the garlic. I see from the photos that you show the finished product with the soya brine, but the photo of the garlics in the black bowl appear to be slightly colored, as if not having been put with the soya. When I was in Korea, 20+ years ago I loved the pickled garlic and do not recall them being brown. Do you have a recipe where the pickling brine does not contain soya? OR possibly the garlic does not take on much of the color from the soya??? I look forward to your thoughts. What a great collection of recipes. I have been making and selling kimchi for the past 5 years and would like to branch out. nancy

    • Nancy – Actually the garlic in the black bowl was from the same jar that is shown in the post. My brine is pretty light in soy sauce so the resulting garlic is not that dark, especially within 2 to 3 weeks. I actually still have the pickled garlic I made at the same time of this post. (I made several batch because I was testing the recipe for the Guardian.) It’s darker now, but not very dark. Taste even more delicious after all that time.

      You make and sell kimchi?? that’s totally awesome! But I know it’s a lot of work. Good luck!

  18. All I can say is thank you, this recipe looks awesome! I’m fairly new to Korean food and the culture but I’ve fallen in love with what I’ve been learning. My 5 year and I are learning Hangul. The hot spices dishes are a bit to much for my tummy but this and the white kimchi are cookbooks wonderful and versatile for other dishes. Thank you immensely!! We go through D.C. often enough but Ill be visiting here much more frequently. It’s truly a pleasure to have found this blog!

    • Thank you, Shanna! That’s nice to know you and your child are learning Korean culture and language. Hope you find many recipes on my blog you and your family can enjoy.

  19. Hi! I made the first part with vinegar and after 3 day garlic turned green. It’s normal? You know what could have happened? Thanks a lot!

  20. Hello. I made the first part with vinegar and after 3 days garlic turned green. You know what could have happened? Thanks a lot.

  21. nick willems says:

    As all picklers know when something is fermenting it gives off CO2 and alcohol. I followed your instructions against my better judgment. I put lids on tight and in about 4 days two of them blew there lids with brine going ever where. What a mess.
    You all be careful.

    • Sorry to hear that. I am not sure why that happened. Did you keep them in a cool place? Did you use the brine in the recipe? I do this pickling all the time, and this never happened to me. Pickling generally requires putting lids on tight.

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  1. […] Spain, Sicily…because no one is bothered by my garlic breath since they all have it too. I use this Korean recipe for pickled garlic called maneul jangajji. It is very simple and only takes about 3 weeks to finish […]