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Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum)

Okay, if you have read any of my blog posts before, watched any of my YouTube videos, or are my husband or an ex boyfriend from the distant past, one thing is apparently clear. I love garlic! I would roast a whole head of garlic and eat the entire damn thing. I am pretty sure I have covered that in a previous post. And if the typical chef would use 3 cloves in a recipe, I am using at least 5. One thing is for certain, I love garlic.

If you have ever eaten at Halal Guys, or at a Lebanese restaurant then you are familiar with this sauce/spread. And since I clearly hate garlic, I ran away screaming and hugged the closest garlic hating vampire I could find. Um, no. Wildly inaccurate. Naturally I wanted to make it. Duh. I am not someone who follows recipes. I typically will use them for inspiration, or not at all. (Unless I am baking, then I need them.) But since this is something I have never made before, I thought I would look it up and try to be authentic.

I had never felt like such a failure in my whole life. Haha. I tried 3 times, went through an obscene amount of garlic and an entire thing of oil and it was still a failure. I mean, it made a great marinade for my chicken and eggplant, but it was a liquid. It was not the luxurious, fluffy spread that I was envisioning. I made it 3 times! And each time it was liquid. I was reading the directions, following them explicitly. What the hell was I doing wrong? Like seriously, I never have it that happen. Like the guy who claims he always gets it up, I can always cook. My husband has 2 or 3 times, in 10 years, been like um, I am not sure if I like that. Plus, I am literate, so when I am following directions word for word, I have a pretty high expectations that I can make it.

So what was I doing wrong?!?!?! I will tell you, but first I digress... As discussed I love garlic. And discussed in other posts, I love citrus. Keeping these things in mind, I buy citrus juice in bulk and the same clearly goes for garlic. I always have a glass container or organic lime juice and organic lemon juice in my fridge. I also purchase the giant organic bag of pre-peeled garlic. It just makes my life so much easier. Well, that was my problem!!! Although I typically advocate for fresh ingredients, sometimes prepared ingredients make our lives a heck of a lot easier.

They DO NOT make making Lebanese garlic sauce easier. In fact, they make it impossible. Something about the higher acid content in the lemon juice, or maybe some sort of oxidation in the peeled garlic (totally guessing on the garlic one, lol), made it impossible for the proper emulsification to occur. When you rotate the oil and the lemon in a food processor, they emulsify. Basically two liquids that aren't supposed to mix, build up barriers between their particles, yada, yada, yada.

Anyway, for this dish fresh is best. Fresh reigns supreme and is absolutely necessary. The other great news, this recipe makes a lot. So if you are self conscious about smelling garlicky, you can gift it to all your friends and you can smell of one of my favorite things together! Friendship requirement: must love garlic.

Now that we have discussed all my failures in detail, lets get into HOW TO actually make this crazy delicious Lebanese garlic sauce.


1 cup garlic cloves, approximately 2-3 heads of garlic, fresh, unpeeled... yet

4 cups of canola oil (I used a blend for my first failed attempts, I repeat... canola oil)

1-2 lemons (some recipes say 1/2 a lemon, I used 1 1/2 lemons and it turned out super fluffy)

pinch of salt

You will need a larger food processor for this one.

1. Peel all of your garlic cloves, placing them in a measuring cup (1 cup) until they reach the top.

2. Add all of the garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt to your food processor. Blend until smooth, you may have to scrape the sides 3 or 4 times, so that everything is blended well.

3. Slowly add 1/2 cup of canola oil, still blending for 60-90 seconds. Then add the slightest bit of lemon juice, like 1/4 to 1/2 tsp and blend and additional 30 seconds or so.

4. Rotate the slow addition of 1/2 cup canola oil and and a bit of lemon juice until you have gone through all 4 cups of canola oil. The entire process should be roughly 10-12 minutes.

5. It should be fluffy. If it begins to break, stop adding ingredients, and simply blend.

6. Store in a secure and lidded container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

You can spread this stuff on sandwiches, meat, pita, naan, vegetables, your pores if you hate vampires. Basically anything that you would consider putting aioli, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce on... this would be yummy with! We did a whole Middle Eastern Spread... which will be another post!

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