Ladies and gentlemen, this is a milestone moment. I claimed this site would feature Lebanese recipes when I first started it. Well, it's finally happening. This post is officially the first of it's kind. I can explain why it's taken so long. You see, my mom is the one with most of these recipes. Shooting around my schedule and hers has been difficult to say the least, but we finally did it. We're going to show you how to make Toum.
Toum is that thick garlic sauce you always see in Middle-Eastern restaurants that is usually served with chicken. Lebanon can lay claim to this creation, but it can be found in many other nations in the Middle East. In case you didn't know, toum literally translates to garlic in Arabic. Many Lebanese eat it with chicken mainly, but it's also great with barbequed meat and French fries. Overall, it's delicious and unique in flavor. Not only that, but it's very healthy. Garlic has the proven ability to help reduce high cholesterol, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and even certain types of cancer. The benefits of garlic can't be overstated, so try this sauce and incorporate more garlic in your life!
To make this sauce is not difficult, it's just technical. There aren't many ingredients, so it's not taxing in that regard. Understanding the emulsion process is key. Emulsification is the process that allows liquids and oils to mix. It's a scientific and chemical reaction, so it can be easily messed up without practice or knowing what you're doing. Toum, like mayonnaise, hollandaise and aioli's needs to be emulsified to form. Lecithin is a common emulsifier that is used in industrial kitchens to make creamy foods. To get this naturally, we use egg whites, which contain lecithin. This will help us emulsify much easier.
My mother never, ever measures her ingredients. So, I'm going to eyeball it with this recipe. It's best you watch the video a few times and really understand the process and the timeline of what ingredients you should add when. The key to making successful sauce will be to understand emulsification, not really understand the recipe. In fact, everyone has their way of making garlic sauce. Some add egg whites, some don't. Some add water, some don't. This is the way my mom does it and we think it comes out perfect. For a more intense garlic flavor, you can always add more cloves of garlic.
This can be made in a mortar and pestal if you have the kind of time and patience, but nobody has time for that, so we're using a food processor. If you are making a large amount of sauce, you can use a larger processor, but for the amount we're making, use one similar in size to this one. My mom has said that if you make this quantity in a larger processor, it won't work.
You'll need a few things to get started:
Okay, time to get to business.
With your machine off, add in your garlic cloves, add the salt and add in the lemon crystals, citric acid or lemon juice at this point. You can add lemon in any of the three forms you'd like, but just understand that the crystals or citric acid will have a more concentrated lemon flavor than juice, so adjust accordingly.
Pour in some canola oil. Use a neutral oil! Olive oil or any flavored oil won't work here. I highly suggest canola oil, because it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste. My mom puts a tablespoon or two to begin with. Put the lid on and get it going on food processor mode for about 10-20 seconds. Add in one egg white at a time with the machine going. Let the egg white incorporate before adding the next one. It's essential that your ingredients be at room temperature. Let the processor go after adding the third egg white for about 10-20 seconds and then begin adding the stream of oil. It's important that it's a steady stream, but pretty thin. It's important to note that as you add the oil, you should begin seeing the form change from a liquid to more a thick paste. Because of that, once we get started, we don't want to turn the machine off until we're done. When you reach the point where it's almost fully done, stream in some cold water, about a tablespoon. Continue adding the oil in a steady stream until it's completely emulsified and a mayonnaise consistency. Taste and adjust the salt or lemon accordingly.
Cover and refrigerate. It will last in the fridge for a week, but I suggest using it within a few days.
See how it's done:
- First Step:
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon lemon crystals
- 1 tablespoon Canola oil
- Second step:
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- ¾ cup Canola oil or as much needed until sauce thickens
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
***TAKE OUT ALL YOU INGREDIENTS AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE ROOM TEMPERATURE. THIS IS VITAL. THE WATER OR ICE CUBES MUST BE THE ONLY THING THAT IS COLD.
In a medium sized processor, add in the four garlic cloves, cut in half.
Sprinkle in the salt.
Add in lemon crystals, citric acid or lemon juice. (whatever you're using)
Pour a little bit of oil around the inside of the processor in a circular motion, it's about a tablespoon.
Put the lid back on and process the mixture for about 20 seconds.
While the mixer is running, add the room temp egg whites, one at a time, giving each one time to incorporate.
Using about half of the oil, add in the oil in a steady, but thin stream. Look for the sauce to emulsify and thicken to a mayonnaise-like consistency. A little less or more oil may be needed.
Once it comes together and looks more like the mayonnaise-like consistency, add in the cold water in a steady, thin stream.
Continue adding in the rest of the oil in a thin, steady stream to regain the thick consistency.
Give it a taste and adjust the salt or lemon.
Refrigerate for about an hour before use. Keeps in fridge for a week, but I suggest using it within the first few days.
You can add more garlic cloves for a more intense garlic flavor. You can use regular lemon juice, citric acid or lemon crystals. Machine should run through the entire process after adding in the first step ingredients.