The star of every barbecue gathering we host in Lebanon has got to be the Lebanese garlic sauce called toum. Pronounced as TOOM, this dip-style condiment bursts with flavor and adds a tangy twist to barbecued chicken and meat. It is often served with chicken shish tawook, french fries, on top of toasted bread, or roasted vegetables.
Let's also not forget how most Lebanese people slather "extra toum" in shawarma wraps and tawook sandwiches. You might think it's pretty complex to whip up a batch of this sauce at home but honestly, it doesn't have to be. We made the recipe and with a little bit of effort, we promise you'll have a tub of extra delicious "toum," to serve and devour.
What I Love About This Recipe
Toum garlic dipping sauce is a delicious sauce for shish tawook, chicken shawarma (or shawarma chicken wings), and cilantro garlic fried potatoes (batata harra). It's creamy, tangy, garlicky, and delicious. It only takes 10 minutes to whip up, and it lasts for up to a month in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Garlic: Easy to guess this one right? The recipe calls for a ton of garlic but the amount can always be adjusted based on how pungent you want your sauce to be.
- Vegetable Oil: Canola oil works great here but you can use any other vegetable oil (sunflower/corn).
- Salt: Just a pinch helps to bind all the flavors together.
- Lemon Juice: This is what gives the garlic paste a beautiful white color and it also balances the flavor out.
How To Make Lebanese Garlic Sauce
Squeeze the lemon. Measure out the oil. Put the oil and lemon juice in separate cups that can easily pour into the spout opening of the food processor.
Peel the garlic. Cut the ends off and remove the green germ (if any). Add the garlic cloves to the blender with some salt. Pulse on high.
Scrape down the sides of the food processor. Turn the food processor on while slowly pouring the oil in a thin stream, alternating with the lemon juice.
The garlic will emulsify into a creamy paste.
Scoop the toum garlic sauce out of the food processor into a bowl or airtight container.
Tips and Tricks
- Take your time with it. If you pour in the oil or lemon juice into the blender super quick the mixture won't emulsify and you'll end up with a watery texture so a key tip is to add the garlic and salt into the food processor and whizz them up until the garlic is well minced. Then start alternating between the oil and lemon juice over a period of 15 minutes. Don't rush the process.
- Use the freshest garlic. This makes a world of difference when it comes to how the sauce tastes at the end. So make sure to pick up garlic from the store a day before you need to make a big batch of this recipe.
- Olive oil doesn't work for this recipe due to its strong flavor.
- Always use fresh lemon juice when making this sauce rather than the bottled or ready-packed versions.
This sauce can last for up to a month if refrigerated in an airtight container. After a month, its freshness might be affected so make sure to use it up before it goes bad.
- A good knife
- Food processor or blender
- Airtight container
How To Thicken Garlic Sauce
The process by which this garlic sauce thickens is called emulsification. The acidic lemon juice suspends the fat particles and creates a thick garlic paste. No cornstarch or other thickeners are used for this recipe. The key for successful emulsification is the right ratios and going very slowly for all of the ingredients to blend evenly.
What Do You Eat With Toum?
Well, the list is quite endless. We like to put a little bit of it on everything really. The sauce is also often used as a dip. It goes amazingly well with grilled chicken kabobs, chicken wings, batata harra, and mighty homemade fries. It's an integral part of the Lebanese mezze culture which includes popular dishes like tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, hummus, and fattoush to name a few.
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Toum Lebanese Garlic Sauce
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup garlic cloves green germ removed
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Peel the cloves of garlic, remove splinters, and the green germ inside each clove.
- Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until they're minced.
- Add the salt and pulse a little more.
- Slowly start adding the oil and lemon juice in intervals (pulse for a few minutes between each addition).
- Keep pulsing until you're done adding all the oil and lemon juice.
- You'll have a soft but emulsified white paste that's ready to serve.
- Serve and sahtein!
- The sauce keeps for up to month if refrigerated in an airtight container.