Toum — The Famous Lebanese White Garlic Sauce

“Toum” is a traditional garlic dipping sauce with a creamy consistency, originating from Lebanon. It can be eaten on its own, spread on bread, or even as an accompaniment to almost any dish — most famously with shish twouk, shawarma, etc. While simple in terms of its ingredients, toum requires patience and time to make, as it is an emulsion of the ingredients.

Traditionally, toum was made using a mortar and pestle. However nowadays a food processor or hand-held blender is used instead. It consists of four main and basic ingredients: garlic, salt, lemon juice, and oil. However in this particular recipe, egg white is used to achieve an easier mayonnaise-like consistency. Additionally the ice-cold water used in this recipe further aids in achieving the consistency needed without the batch splitting.

The oil and lemon juice are added to the paste usually in small amounts, alternating the oil with the lemon juice until everything has been added. This is done slowly to prevent the mixture from splitting and the ingredients are then blended together carefully. The final product should be light and creamy and can be refrigerated for weeks.

Toum is best served at room temperature.

traditionally toum was made using a mortar and pestle


This recipe serves 8.

Ingredients

  • Handful of garlic (depending on your preference)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

This recipe requires a food processor, or a hand-blender.

  1. Blend the garlic cloves with the pinch of salt and 1/4 of the lemon juice in the food processor/hand-blender on medium speed.
  2. While still blending, but on slow speed, slowly add the egg white.
  3. While still blending on low speed, add HALF of the cooking oil trickle by trickle, followed by the rest of the lemon juice slowly, then the rest of the oil. This should take a couple of minutes as it is VERY important to add the ingredients slowly to allow for emulsion to take place.
  4. Add the two tablespoons of ice-cold water to allow for further thickening of the mix.
  5. Serve!
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