Serious Garlic Sauce, or Toum
The first time I had ever heard of toum—the crazy good, strong garlic sauce that is a ubiquitous Middle Eastern condiment for kebabs and other barbecued meats—was just a few years ago. I had recently met my friend Janet, a powerhouse food writer whose husband is Lebanese, and she asked me, don’t you just love toum?
We were both surprised that not only had I never made this version of garlic aoli before, I had never tasted it, either. Turns out I was missing out on the kind of garlicky flavor that gives BAM! a whole new meaning.
There is not a lot of garlic in the Lebanese cuisine I grew up with, which may be the result of the regions from which my parents hail, but it could also have to do with the fact that my mother really does not care for garlic. For her, garlic is like an annoyance that just won’t go away, the mosquito bite of foods. When she heard I’d be making toum with you, she did not pretend to think that was a good idea. It’s as though she thought the windows of my blog would be wide open and through those windows the scent of garlic would bother everyone as much as it bothers her. She did point out that it’s not just her taste that has kept toum off our table—it’s never been on any table in either her or my father’s families, and it is not in her favorite old country cookbook, either. So there.
On my third attempt at toum recipes in one day, I commented to her on how the scent of the garlic was very much with us. With us? I smell it and I taste it, she shouted from the other room.
But why three attempts for the toum, you might wonder, and rightly so. My admission of that is not to scare you off from making toum, but simply to say that after trying a few different methods, I think the one I’ve landed on is going to be successful for all of us. Toum is essentially a type of mayonnaise, an aoli, both of which are emulsions of egg, oil, and lemon juice. Except toum, which means garlic in Arabic, contains no eggs; it is an emulsion of lots of garlic, lemon juice and a neutral oil. Some recipes do call for a raw egg white to be included in the toum, but none of my Lebanese cookbooks do; still I’ve tried it and I don’t think it’s necessary. The toum on my cousin May’s table in Lebanon was made by starting with cornstarch and boiling water. Something must have been lost in translation because for me it wielded cornstarch/garlic/oil liquid, which shouldn’t have been a surprise given that oil and water don’t mix.
Emulsions can be a tricky thing; we spent plenty of time on them in culinary school and discovered that practice makes perfect. I had a few rounds of unsuccessful toum during that time and decided I’d leave perfecting it to another day—like today. Given that garlic is the basis of the sauce, into which the oil is emulsified, it takes a significant amount of garlic to create enough of a foundation for the oil to work its magic. So don’t be shocked by the full cup of garlic cloves used in the recipe, or the four cups of neutral-flavored oil that are blended into them…it can be more than challenging to make a smaller amount of toum, and since toum lasts for weeks in your refrigerator, a larger quantity is not a bad thing (think the best garlic toast you’ve ever tasted, under the broiler). Unless you’re a member of the no-garlic-on-my-table club. In which case you’re still going to love a smokey, char-grilled plateful of barbecued laham mishweh—lamb kebabs, coming up tomorrow—just like I always have, even without the extra BAM.
Garlic Sauce, or Toum
Fluffy toum sauce is delicious with any type of barbecued meat, particularly chicken, beef, or lamb, and grilled vegetables. Try it spread on thick slices of crusty bread and broiled for some of the finest garlic toast around. Check this toum demo out by the talented Lebanese Chef Kamal Al-Faqih. My recipe is an adaptation of his (from his Classic Lebanese Cuisine, published in 2009 by Three Forks, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press). Be sure to use a food processor, spatula, and measuring cup that are completely dry—water can cause the emulsion to break. Choose garlic that is firm and fresh.
1 cup very fresh garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup lemon juice
4 cups neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise and remove the green center sprout. Even if the sprout is barely there or mostly white, remove it, as it causes a bitter flavor.
Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until it is finely minced, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl between pulses.
In a very thin, slow stream that is so slow it stops to a dribble at times, pour about ½ cup of oil into the running processor with the garlic. Then add slowly add about two teaspoons of lemon juice while the processor is running. Turn off the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue in this manner, alternating oil and lemon juice in very slow, steady streams and stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl. The mixture will turn fluffy and white.
Scrape into a bowl or container with an airtight lid, but don’t put the lid on yet. Cover the toum with a paper towel and refrigerate for about 12 hours, chilling the sauce completely and removing some of the moisture which would cause the toum to separate if covered immediately with the airtight lid. Then cover with the airtight lid and refrigerate for up to one month.
If your toum tastes ‘hot’ from the garlic, let it rest for a few days in the refrigerator, which will soften the flavor. Makes 4 cups of toum.
Find a PDF of this recipe here.
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I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!
Anything that combines ‘serious’ and ‘garlic’ in it’s title is a must-make in my book.
I know we did grow up with this either, but the first time i had it was in St. Paul MN, and to honest i can take it or do without it. I like laham mishwe without it. but i do like garlic.
I mentioned before that a Lebanese restaurant owner in Wisconsin made hummus for us once and he started by filling the food processor bowl (typical large processor) with garlic, liquifying it and then adding some chic peas and taheni. It was so strong with garlic that it actually burned your mouth a bit, like with a mild pepper, didn’t know garlic would do that. He also made a more mild batch, but it too was a bit much! So march forward with courage, how bad can a cup of garlic be? 🙂
I can’t believe you just published what I have been wanting for years! Thank you dear Maureen! I LOVE RWOB!!!
My Dad loved fresh garlic in his salata (sp?) and my Mom always made him go outside on the back porch to peel it and smash it with a mortar and pestle. About 20 years ago, Gilroy CA (the center of the garlic universe) held a Garlic Festival to which we went a few years in a row–such a novelty for a festival–and garlic became overdone–when I tasted Garlic Ice Cream, I turned back–now I don’t even put it in hummus.
Huh… I’ve never had Toum. Can’t wait to ask my dad is his parents or grandparents ever made it — and I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks so much!
love your writting and your Toum recipe. My Mum is a great cook and she has a wonderful twist on making Toum. This involves freezing the whole garlic bulb for at least two days or more. When ready to make Toum quickly peel each clove , leave the centre sprout in and just follow your recipe. Freezing takes the hotness out the garlic and also helps those that have problems with garlic repeating on them. Do not let the garlic defrost for longer than 20mins. Please let me know if anyone is sucessful with this method. Have fun.
Can’t wait to try this,thank you!
As a fan of Aioli, my quick go-to condiment, I’m naturally drawn to this. For those that are put off by the “heat” of the freshly chopped garlic, why not try substituting part (or all) of it for roasted garlic to bring out some of the sweet/nutty character? I do this with Aioli all the time. Looking forward to the kebabs…
Just made my first batch, and it is heavenly. I spread it on a halved hard-boiled egg, and seriously almost wept with taste bud happiness. I can imagine using this on salad and hot vegetables — or, ya know, just on a spoon.
Maureen, Jim made this gorgeous item the day after your post, and we have been delighting in it ever since. We’ve used it as a condiment for roast chicken and grilled fish, dipped steamed green beans and potato chips (!) in it, tossed it with warm red potatoes for a salad and, just now, with pasta, julienned basil and pine nuts for a deconstructed pesto. Nell spent the morning scouring the fridge for “things I can put the garlic sauce on.” In other words, we are addicted!!
Oh… and Jim is convinced it’s what cured his knee problems!
Garlic is a wonder….and I tried the toum on pasta tonight with your deconstructed pesto: brilliant! I’m so glad you made it and love the toum too Sheila.
I made this last week with fresh, hard garlic bought from a farmer’s market….to die for. I’m so glad I was able to make this instead of waiting until the next time we go to Detroit. Thank you!
I had Toum for the first time about 25 years ago in a Lebanese restaurant in St. Paul, MN. I would also purchase small containers of Toum from a small Mexican-Lebanese grocery store several miles from the restaurant. I got hooked and turned into a Toum junkie. Unfortunately, my wife was in the early stages of her first pregnancy and she couldn’t stand to be within 25 feet of me after I had been eating the stuff or she’d experience severe morning sickness regardless of the time of day. We eventually moved too far away to get back to either establishment on a regular basis, which probably saved our marriage and allowed for additional children. I’ve found recipes for Toum previously and I succeeded in making it once or twice in a blender. More recent attempts to make it, however, have been dismal failures. I had Toum again in November at a South Bend, Indiana restaurant following a Notre Dame football game. It was as good as I remembered it and it rekindled my determination to make it at home. I tried my old method again with the same disappointing results. I found your recipe on this site and gave it a whirl. Wonderful! I think you touched upon a very important factor in your blog for those struggling with making Toum: Size matters. In my failed efforts I had tried to make proportionately smaller batches and ended up with lumpy, separated liquid. Larger amounts made in a food processor is the key to success. I, along with my menopausal wife and grown children, thank you!
That was fantastic Tommy, thank you! And P.S., we are both fans of the Fighting Irish–
Maureen, just made Toom for the first time. I used the 4 cups of canola oil and seem to be getting a little too much of the oil taste. At the Mediterranean restaurant that I go to it is not quite so mayo like (not quite so smooth). Any suggestions?
Hi Debbie–my toum recipe makes a very smooth toom, but it should taste primarily of garlic (tamed garlic after a few days’ rest in the refrigerator); if you want it grainier/chunkier, perhaps increase the garlic.
I just made this last weekend, looooooved it!, Will make it again and again, super easy too!
How strict do you have to be with letting it sit for 12 hours? I have to leave for work an hour before the time is up, and I don’t trust my boyfriend to wake up and take care of it for me.
This is really just to tame the burn that can happen with so much fresh garlic, which will happen over time with the toum stored in the fridge.
OMG! Thanks so much for this! I’ve been trying to make this for years but always failed. I tried to make smaller batches and other people said to add a raw egg white but I’m allergic to egg so I couldn’t!
The trick to this IS the quantity – heaps of garlic! Seriously tastes AMAZING! I just need a lot of patience to pour the four cups of oil in slowly.
I won’t be getting a cold this winter!
Thanks again! xx
Tastes great but mine didn’t fluff – it’s so liquid-y.. Any suggestions?
Hello–it sounds like the mixture didn’t emulsify. You could try adding more garlic and then add more oil very slowly.
It looks like I may be a little late to this party, but I’ll share my story anyhow… I only rarely cook as will probably be evident by my post… There is a restaurant called Mediterranean Pizza close to my house that has a white garlic sauce that is to die for. I dip my bread sticks in it, the crust of my pizza, and sometimes my pizza itself for a little extra goodness. I always get lots of extra garlic sauce from the pizza restaurant. So this weekend, I went to Google and searched high and low looking for recipes that may be at least similar to what the restaurant uses. I came to the realization that “toum” is probably the mystery sauce that I have come to love. I started my journey in the blender, chopping/mixing the garlic with the salt. My blender couldn’t quite get all of the garlic minced, so I added the first 1/2 cup of oil to aid. That worked and it was soon looking quite nice minced/pureed. So I added the first dose of lemon juice and it started to thicken just a bit as was expected. However, my blender (it’s cheap) wasn’t up for the task of mixing the emulsification that was forming. 25% of the way into adding the oil/juice, I came to the realization that my blender could no longer mix the emulsification – blender wouldn’t churn the mixture any longer. I don’t have a food processor, so a mixing bowl was my only choice. I was in the middle of adding a dose of oil when I transferred to the bowl, and very quickly realized that I was doomed. There was a mix of a globby garlic puree moving about in the oil – fail. I wasn’t quite ready to give up though, and decided to add the dose of lemon juice. I started stirring the mixture again and a magic trick happened before my eyes – it started to emulsify! I ended up mixing in 1/4 cup oil with 1 tsp juice at a time to make sure I didn’t lose the emulsion. Things were going so well hand mixing that when 50% of the oil/juice was mixed, I decided to try just a small dab of it. WOW! I didn’t realize garlic could be “hot” like that. I was able to keep the emulsion all the way to the end while mixing by hand with a wooden spoon, which surprised the heck out of me. Right now it is just a touch “hot” from the garlic. I can’t wait to see how it tastes as the garlic mellows out just a touch, but right now it seems as though it will be quite good.
My mom’s cousin owned that Mexican Lebanese Grocery that Tommy B. mentioned. The store has been closed for years now. We all learned to make the Garlic Sauce, what we always called it, in a blender but it was iffy to turn out thick. My cousin shared her techniques with us and it almost always works out. I posted our version of the recipe on allrecipes.com called Thick Style Lebanese Garlic Sauce but that site has no problem changing your recipe so it was not accurate and people gave it bad reviews. It wasn’t until I emailed them and told them I would never post another recipe on their site because they ruined the recipe by changing it that they edited it and now it has gotten many good reviews. I usually use all vegetable or canola oil, they left in the part about using part Olive Oil, they originally had to use Extra virgin, that really ruined the recipe.
Patti in St. Paul MN
Maybe this is a stupid question, but why can’t you use olive oil? I love toum (grew up and still live in Metro Detroit) and I always thought it was made with olive oil.
NOT a stupid question at all Anita!! Olive oil has such a forward flavor and color that is too strong (go figure, with all that garlic) in the toum. But no reason not to try it and see if you prefer toum with olive oil! Thanks so much for sending your question.
I got my first taste of Toum last weekend at a tailgating party for our local soccer club. One of the parents has a Lebanese restaurant locally and brought some chicken kebabs and Toum. I am now frantically searching for a way to make it myself lest I go broke buying it form his store 🙂 I read that making smaller batches is difficult – would halving the recipe work? I do not have a large enough food processor to accommodate 4 Cups of oil. Alternatively, would a blender work? Thanks for the recipe and link to the video.
Chris in New Hampshire
Thanks Chris–I have not had great success with a smaller recipe or a blender for toum! Not the answer you wanted, but let me know if it works for you in smaller amounts…
If you want to try a different brand garlic sauce, I purchased Garlic sauce from these folks online (Maska Food). Really really tasty but there is a shipping charges involved.
I am not sure if I am allowed to put a link in the comments but you can should be able to find them if you google Maska Food.
Here is the link to their garlic sauce.
Considering all the process we have to go through to make the sauce. For those of us that don’t have the time to make our own sauce, we have to pay for it, I thought they were pretty reasonable and also pretty quick shipping.
Thanks for the resource, John!
Thanks for the info John. Here’s an update on my efforts though:
I used a two step process for this as my processor is small.
Processed the garlic (1/2 cup of garlic cloves – approx 1 bulb) with salt and a bit of lemon juice to a fine puree in the food processor.
Transferred the puree to the blender and drizzled in 2 cups of canola oil and the remaining lemon juice. Emulsions are indeed a tricky process and this one came out thin and “broken” but all was not lost. After researching methods and recipes for Toum, I noticed that some added an egg white – although it doesn’t seem traditional, here’s why. Removing half of the “broken” sauce and whipping in 1 egg white instantly puffed up the sauce to a light and fluffy mixture. Slowly adding the remaining half of the “broken” sauce did not alter the texture at all. The result was a wonderfully light, fluffy and smooth sauce that has been enjoyed but quite a few of my friends – although I have a hard time sharing :-). It has been keeping perfectly in the fridge as well. It seems the egg white is an insurance for a correct emulsification. I may not always add it but if needed, saves the day and all the rest of the ingredients and time. Thanks again all and maybe this will help others in making their own addictive Toum
Your Welcom Maureen!
If I make my own and refrigerate it, in your experience do you know how long would the garlic sauce last in the fridge?
We’re talking months, my friend! Two or three easy, airtight.
i am not the teeniest bit lebanese, but, fattoush, kefta kabobs and toum are three of my favorite things. add chocolate chip cookies and well, do origins matter when food is divine? i think not.
thanks maureen your blog is a treat, and your father’s day version of fattoush, brilliant.
You Nancy are a true cousin! Thank you!
How long does it need to process until it gets whippy? I feel like I’m going to lose my mind from the noise of the food processor and it might be getting a little thicker, but it’s still got a long way to go.
It doesn’t take but a couple of minutes; if you add the oil very slowly, the emulsion takes place from the get-go. It sounds like yours broke and didn’t emulsify, and at that point no amount of whipping will make it so…
How much is a cup of garlic?
Depends on the size of your heads of garlic, but 2-3 large heads should do it.
I can no longer make toum unless it is for a party. I end up eating way too much :/
Ugh…am i the only failure?
I have attempted making toum half a dozen times.
With everyone else’s success…i dove right in and tried again , only to fail…again.
I used safflower oil but have tried with olive oil previously.
No emulsificasion. A liquidy (though, yummy smelling) sunstance.
I will use it for marinades and salad dressing but REALLY crave the real thing.
Michelle! I’m sorry for this–you are NOT alone! My toum has failed more than once, my friend. I have had luck with canola oil (safflower is equally fine though) and an extremely steady, extremely SLOW stream of oil into the garlic, nearly a drop by drop especially at first.
The salt…i used a low sodium substitute. Could that have caused this?
Hmmm, not sure this would prevent emulsification but worth trying with regular Kosher or table salt.
Will try again…with real salt and very slow stream.
Wish me luck!
Hello I made this but when i tried eating it. It burned my tongue and had a very sharp taste. Am i doing something wrong?
Hi there–this can happen! I like to let the toum mellow in the refrigerator for a few days; the garlic calms down over time.
Great site even by authentic Lebanese standards…
I thought I’d join your team to share successors considering that for decades no one was willing to share “our” secret recipe… and those who did share talked about “water” not oil being the secret ingredient for emulsification… others added ice cubes…. others said use boiled potatoes and what have you… all were wrong…
I guess we are all still struggling with victories and failures. failures generally put a damper on my day, and I refuse to start again the same day… 🙂
Let me also say that now I refuse to use egg white… I used them once and after 5 egg whites, the liquid garlic remained liquid…
In my “lucky first” trial, I started with a blender as my food processor did not have a whole on top. The emulsification (including lemon juice) was good and rapid UNTIL a certain point when the oil had no place to go and simply accumulated on top of the paste… So, I got highly concentrated garlic paste that is too garlicky and salty which was not bad as long as I used very very little in, for example, a Shish Tawook sandwich.
Since then I got a food processor with a whole on top… and the first try was a fiasco… even with the 5 egg whites I mentioned above… I got an unusable garlic soup.
The second go was a success… I drizzled patiently the oil for 30 minutes (yes 30 minutes) in a drizzle pattern that is just over drops… I used 4 heads of very fresh garlic… 1.5 cups of Sunflower oil…1 teaspoon of kosher salt… and 1/4 cup lemon juice from a bottle (they don’t sell fresh lemons where I live)… The bottled lemon juice is a risk as it has a lot of water… Still, the results were awesome… and the garlic paste did not taste to sharp… It needed a 1/2 tspn of salt more though… No big deal… I just added some salt to the sandwich…
The third time, I used 3 heads, 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt… 2 cups of Sunflower oil…and 1/8 bottled lemon juice… I drizzled very very slowly but a little faster than “just beyond drops”… and the emulsification broke… I used very fresh and hard garlic from the store, but I don’t think they were very fresh as I could slightly smell the “bitter sharpness” when I peeled them… That should have been my clue…
So, not sure if there are complete answers… But the tips are:
1. Make sure there is no water whatsoever and only use very very fresh garlic.
2. Use fresh lemon juice if you can. Bottled lemon juice will work but it is a high risk.
3. Use kosher salt.
4. Someone correct me, but it appears that Canola oil is the OPTIMUM oil to use… Olive oil is too overpowering and the paste will not be as fluffy. Not sure whether corn oil is better than canola. Sunflower oil worked for me… I am not sure it is as fluffy as I remember a garlic paste to be…
5. To play it safe, use a drizzle pattern that is slightly above drops… This is super boring… but it is less risky… It is not a guarantee though as ALL factors play in in emulsifications. I am not sure how others have had success adding 4 cups of oil in 2 minutes, but m dying to find out…
Have a great day,
Hi, I’ve been coaching some friends through learning to make toum for the first time & thought I’d share some of my experiences with successfully making a small batch.
Since I cook for a family of two I was bound & determined to learn to make toum in a one cup batch and after several failures decided to forgo technology & try the old fashioned way – mortar & pestle. This works but doesn’t give you the light, airy version of toum that I was aiming for. After a few batches that were used as a marinade I finally succeeded my marrying the old and the new.
I make a one cup batch of toum by quartering the above ingredients and starting with a mortar and pestle before proceeding to an immersion blender. Using a pestle, pound your garlic and salt together until you have a smooth paste. Add a few drops of oil to this paste and work it into the garlic with the pestle until it is fully absorbed. Repeat this procedure until you have slowly added enough oil to have a couple of tablespoons of garlic emulsion. You can now switch to an immersion blender, slowly adding the oil & lemon juice until it all has been incorporated. The keys to success are using an appropriately sized container and going very slowly, only adding more oil when what has been added has been absorbed.
I’ve also saved a broken batch of toum by starting a new emulsion with a couple of cloves of garlic, some salt and a little oil in the mortar & pestle and them slowly adding the separated toum to the new emulsion. Again, proceeding very slowly.
I hope this can help any garlic lovers who want to love their garlic in a smaller quantity.
Your site is one of my go-to sites for Middle Eastern food recipes, btw. Thanks for providing it.
Ruth: BRAVO!!! Thank so much for sharing your toum method with us. Can’t wait to try it!
Hi Maureen – I ran across your blog looking for a good shish-kebab recipe which led me here. I am not Lebanese at all but grew up in a community of many Lebanese and ate at many Lebanese friends homes and local Lebanese restaurants. Several of the grocery stores back in Western Pennsylvania carry bread similar to the man’oushe recipe you have but without the topping – some called it Syrian Bread (we had lots of ethnic middle eastern people in our town – they all made wonderful food). The grocery stores also carried a creamy garlic sauce and also a sauce/relish made with hot yellow peppers, onions, garlic, lemon juice and oil – they were wonderful but I’ve always loved that garlic sauce – now I know it’s called Toum. I can’t wait form my kitchen remodel to be done so I can make this – it brings back so many wonderful memories of “lamb on the rod” which is what we called it. I love your blog and voted for it in the Saveur best food blog contest today – best of luck!
How wonderful, all of that, Jane–thank you so much. I love hearing about the Lebanese where you grew up, and the wonderful food they made and you enjoyed. We also called that flatbread Syrian Bread, a little thinner than the man’oushe and so very good. I’m hoping to master it…some day…. Enjoy the toum–I’ve developed a new recipe for toum in my cookbook (out next year) that I think you will enjoy too. Thanks again! Please stay in touch!
Ms. Abood…my wife and I are adventuresome eaters, and I’ve never been shy about asking chefs how they create dishes I enjoy but which are outside my culinary/cultural experience. We LOVE Lebanese food and I’ve made passable versions of a lot of the dishes we’ve tried, but I’ve never mastered a good toum.
Then I found your blog…and viola…toum. TOUM!
Thanks for posting. I can’t wait to discover the other treasures at maureenabood.com!!!
That’s just wonderful Joe! Thank you for taking a moment to comment, and please keep me posted on your Lebanese culinary adventures in the kitchen!
hello, I have tried to make a garlic aioli for some time since having Toom in a Greek restaurant (Operated by a Lebanese Chef) I was going the olive oil, egg yolk route as I had no idea what I had eaten. I just knew I LOVED the creamy white sauce.. I used a spoon in hand to add the sauce or every bite of shrimp Panini Chicken Schwarma or what ever I was eating.
Now I learn it was Tuom that I loved..
I tried your recipe tonight and it went to garlic water not sure what happened, it sarted off good, but failed ahd went water about the end of 3rd cup of canola oil
Any suggestions ???
Jerry, you are not alone on this. There are a bunch of factors that affect the emulsion, most especially how slowly you add the oil (nearly drop by drop at first). I’m sorry it didn’t hold!! I’ve tried to fix toum and it can be hit or miss; using an egg as you would mayonnaise is a solution as well, but that’s a raw egg. Do you think you may have poured the oil in too quickly?
My Toum was also a failure in texture, but the flavors are a beautiful thing!! My husband is SO happy! The poor consistency is not stopping us from drizzling this on everything we can imagine, most immediately, the Lebanese Potato Salad, Rice Pilaf, Shish Taouk, etc. Great tip from others to use as a marinade.
In my cooking marathon the past 4 days I made the Toum in haste, and only afterward did I study the details, and watch the video. Oops. Must try again, I will conquer!
Thank you, Maureen, for another great recipe!
You are cooking up a storm! What a feast–thanks so much for sharing it all with me!
Heard about this on The Splendid Table on NPR. Just whipped up a batch and I think I am in love!
Welcome to toum heaven, Shawn!
I have been looking for what I now know is Toum for months. I ate a chicken shawarma sandwich in Dubai at a little place called the Beirut Cafe in the Mall of Emirates and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. I had no idea what the white “stuff” on the pita was and I’ve been searching every Mediterranean-centric restaurant in Nashville trying to find it, with no luck. After finding an online menu for the cafe, which listed garlic cream in the description and stumbling onto this blog, I’m so excited (and scared) to try this recipe. Do you think it’s possible to make this in a Vitamix blender? Thank you!
Hi! Maureen I love your website! I am 4th generation and we came to Kentucky in 1890 – don’t ask me how we ended up there. I presently live in Alexandria, VA and am fortunate to have some great places nearby to purchase the foods and the Bread. There was only one member of my family, a great uncle ( by marriage to my Grandmother’s sister )who made this. Uncle Joe would prepare this when he grilled lamb.and it was also used on chicken wings, potatoes and grilled cabbage which was the mezze. I buy it locally. You are right that alot of our people do not make it. All of the best to you!
Great pictures! I have the same bowl you show in the last pic. I have a question: why so serious? Not, really, why the adjective “serious”.
It’s serious because it’s so garlicky! Seriously garlicky!
I am so happy that I found your recipe for Toum while browsing your site today! Actually, I first watched the video for making grape leaves (yum!) when this recipe popped up in the side bar. Garlic sauce is a favorite of everyone in my family and whenever we get Lebanese food (which is a lot) we always order extra. I live in Ohio, just south of Detroit, and we have many wonderful Lebanese restaurants in our area. My favorite place, which is now closed, was Sharif’s – where I worked when I was pregnant with my third child. The food was not only amazing, but just about the only thing I could eat during that time. It’s where I got hooked on Mujadara and how I found your site – I wanted to find a recipe that was just as delicious as Sharif’s and your recipe remains the winner! I learned so much from working with the wonderful and loving people at Sharif’s – everything from hot lemonade (a go to drink for it’s simple deliciousness, but will especially knock out whatever ails you) to braised lamb shanks, and raw kibbeh.
Can’t wait to make the toum as it’ll be perfect with tomorrow night’s chicken shish taouk. Thank you!
Last weekend at a farmers market, my daughter and I tried this amazing garlicky stuff being sold as “Joes garlic sauce”. We bought a container and it was gone within a day. Determined to recreate it, I searched and found your recipe….and it’s identical. Thank you! Now I won’t have to buy what is apparently a common Lebanese recipe from a guy that is touting it as his own miraculous invention and selling it online and at Whole Foods!
I love this Lindsey, thank you! Enjoy your homemade toum!
I can’t believe how magical this stuff is! I always assumed that there had to be secret, unobtainable ingredients–but no, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Wow!
Now if I could just get a good recipe for bsisa–I don’t know if that is Lebanese, but it’s common in Tunisia and, with fresh dates dipped into it, it’s addictive.
It really is wow, isn’t it! Thanks Janet! Now I need to know about bsisa……
Thanks for the awesome recipe. I tried making toum for the first time and was surprised at the great texture. My only concern is the strong flavor which burns the tongue. What could be wrong?
Strong toum will typically become less so over time, in the refrigerator. Give it a few days! So glad it worked well for you.
I wanna make this, but I think I will try it with roasted garlic.
I find that using an old school “ketchup” squeeze bottle works. Like, the one you would find at a backyard bbq. I bought a clear one from Target for like $2. Really helps when slowly streaming in the oil.
How can i get rid of the “too spicy” taste? It has been in the fridge for 4 days now and it’s still a little too spicy for me?
Nicole, it really is a matter of time. I’ve had a good week or more of the zing, then truly mellow, excellent flavor. You may want to take a small portion and add some lemon juice to see if that helps, but take care with the toum’s texture.
I have just tried your recipe of toum for my Sirian boyfriend but unfortunately I did not succeed.
May I ask you if you could provide me with the quantity in gr and ml?
I am from Italy and we do not use cups unfortunately.
Also do you have some tips if we want to make only a small quantity? I found the food processor too big for the quantity I wanted to make and it could not mix the ingredients properly.
Toum sure can be fussy. check out my updated toum tips which includes making a small batch. If you start the emulsion with a whisk and minced garlic in a bowl, adding oil very slowly, you’ll have a better chance of holding the emuslion.