Vegan and gluten-free, Lebanese toum is a thick, creamy garlic sauce that’s packed with flavor. It’s perfect to serve with meat or vegetables – it’s even popular with bread and fries!
There are few dips I can think of that I love more than a good Lebanese toum. This garlic sauce has long been one of my favourites – if you’ve been a Middle Eastern restaurant, it’s likely you’ve tried it before!
If you’ve never heard of it before, toum is essentially a type of mayonnaise – but instead of using eggs to stabilize the emulsion, Lebanese toum is stabilized with garlic (yes, just as delicious and garlicky as it sounds!).
It is a bit more difficult that making mayonnaise at home…but only because it requires a slightly more delicate touch.
What is Lebanese garlic sauce made of
This toum recipe requires only four easily-available ingredients:
Garlic is the most crucial ingredient for obvious reasons – make sure to use the freshest garlic available to you.
Any neutral oil will work here – I use canola oil because I always have some at home, but safflower oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil will work just fine! Just be careful not to use something like olive oil which can overpower the garlic, resulting in something kinda-strange tasting.
Lemon juice is not a required ingredient, and many people I spoke to mentioned not bothering to use it. However, when testing, I found that lemon juice does help to bind the oil and garlic – it also adds the teeniest enhancement to the flavor of the sauce.
Salt is good stuff. It’s mostly there to enhance the flavor. Kosher salt is preferred for its coarseness and its lighter flavor.
How to make Lebanese toum
There are essentially two steps to preparing toum (Lebanese garlic sauce) at home:
- Preparing the garlic – this step removes bitterness, allowing for a tastier garlic sauce in the end.
- Processing the prepared garlic and mixing it with a neutral oil until you achieve your desired consistency and flavour.
Tips to make the best Lebanese toum
Creating toum is a pretty straightforward process. However, there are a few things we can do to make sure the sauce you make is the best Lebanese toum it can be!
- Make sure to prepare the garlic properly. Removing the green sprout leaves you with only the freshest garlic, resulting in a less bitter sauce.
- Depending on how much you like garlic, you may want to subdue the garlic flavour. For a mellower garlic sauce, you can soak the garlic in ice water for a few minutes before getting started. Dry the garlic before tossing into the food processor.
- If you have both a blender and food processor, you will be much better off using the food processor – generally, food processors do a much better job of emulsifying garlic and oil, than most blenders. Also, food processors have that handy little window to pour the oil in from.
- If you find that the garlic sauce becomes too heavy, or “breaks”, you can consider alternate between the lemon juice and oil. This isn’t an issue I’ve ever had, but it is something that others have mentioned to me, so I’m including it here for you.
- It’s important to note: while you can swap out the canola oil for any other neutral oil, don’t switch it out for any other type of oil (for example, olive oil) – it won’t end well. (Don’t ask how I know.)
How to Fix Toum When It Breaks
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that making toum is slightly more difficult than your usual mayonnaise – the reason for this is that the sauce can sometimes break. This can happen for a number of reasons outside of your control (such as the age of the garlic, or perhaps the speed/heat of your food processor).
Luckily, there is a makeshift solution you can try if this should happen to you: whip a quarter cup of the broken sauce with an egg white until a fluffy combination is formed. Add this whipped mixture to the rest of the broken toum, and combine.
Of course, this is not a traditional way to make toum, but it’s a decent option to salvage your sauce should it happen to break!
Al Baik Garlic Sauce Recipe
There’s a good chance you’re here because you read my Al Baik Chicken recipe, and are wondering if this is the same as Al Baik’s famous garlic sauce. The honest answer is…sort of.
Al Baik’s garlic sauce is a pre-packaged version of Lebanese toum, however that’s not necessarily quite the same as this more traditional approach to toum. This is probably about as close as you can get to the packaged sauce if you’re looking for a homemade option.
How to store toum
Refrigerated in an airtight container, this garlic sauce can last for 1-2 months.
Can I freeze toum?
You can freeze for up to three months, but fridge life of toum is already quite long so you probably won’t need to.
Can you make Lebanese garlic sauce by hand
Yes – mince the garlic, and then whisk vigorously and consistently. However, be warned…this will take a significant amount effort, and time. If you’ve ever tried to make whipped cream by hand, know that this is a much more taxing experience.
(Seriously. I tried. Once. My arms are still aching.)
What to serve with toum
The sky is the limit. What goes well with garlic sauce? Well, a lot of things. Here are a few suggestions:
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A good food processor makes this recipe a breeze. A blender will work, but as mentioned above, it’s just easier to make this type of garlic sauce using a food processor.
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And that’s it, bestie! There’s not much else needed to make garlic sauce at home, but let me know what you thought. Have you tried Lebanese toum before? How do you think it comes to store-bought sauces?Print