Toum – Recipe for Middle Eastern Garlic Sauce. Use on Shawarma, Falafel, Grilled Foods. Vegan, Garlicky, Creamy and Flavorful
I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for a while now, but it took some time to develop it and get it just right. Either the texture wasn’t quite right or the flavor wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be. I can proudly say that finally, I’ve cracked the code. This toum recipe is da bomb. It’s smooth, creamy, garlicky and deliciously potent. The key was using a big food processor (8 cups or more), making a large batch (big enough for it to easily emulsify in the food processor), using sunflower or canola oil (these mild oils work best for flavor and texture), and chilling the oil. Sound strange? The chilled oil is magic, it helps to keep the sauce from separating. Come on, don’t you trust me yet?
If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying toum, it’s a creamy garlic dipping sauce that is often served in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants. It’s similar to aioli or mayonnaise, but made without eggs. It’s utterly fabulous on falafel, shawarma, grilled chicken, fish, and vegetables— really, anything that calls for a creamy garlic accompaniment. Be warned, this sauce isn’t for the faint of heart. Toum packs a powerful punch.
Raw garlic contains some pretty incredible health benefits, and has been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. Ancient Olympic athletes used to eat raw garlic to boost their strength and stamina. It’s a great source of antioxidants; it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that eating garlic may help lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So toum is not only tasty, but it’s also good for you. Although I can’t promise it will have a very positive effect on your breath. Don’t go kissing anybody after a serving of this stuff!
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Garlic Sauce (Toum)
- 4 cups sunflower oil, avocado oil or canola oil, chilled (You may need less oil - detailed instructions below. For Passover safflower oil may be used)
- 1/2 cup garlic cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup lemon juice divided
- 1/2 cup ice cold water divided
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- Please Note: this recipe must be made exactly as written, and it relies on a balance of ingredients with very specific amounts and temperatures. Please do not alter the number of servings, or your sauce may not emulsify properly.
- Before you begin, place your oil in the freezer or refrigerator so that it is chilled, but still liquid. While the oil chills, remove the ends from your garlic cloves, split them in half and remove any green layers from inside. In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, salt, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the ice cold water.
- Process until smooth, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula.
- Turn the food processor back on and drizzle the chilled oil through the top as SLOWLY as possible, one cup at a time. If you don't have a steady hand I suggest putting the oil in a squeeze bottle and drizzling it in that way. After each cup of oil, add 1 tbsp each of the lemon juice and cold water.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Be sure that your processor does not get too hot, as this can cause your sauce to separate.
- Only add oil until you've reached the texture you desire - you may only need 3 1/2 cups to achieve the proper texture. The final result should resemble a soft mayonnaise. This recipe makes about 5 cups of sauce, a serving is calculated as roughly 2 tablespoons. Store toum in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but it should keep for up to 4 weeks and it can be used on so many things. You'll be happy you have extra. Enjoy!