It’s time for Toum! This Lebanese sauce packs a powerful punch of garlic that is perfect for any Middle Eastern meal. It will quickly grow to a staple for everyday cooking regardless of cuisine!
I would frequently order shawarma and always loved the garlic sauce that it came with, however, I didn’t know anything about it. I first learned it was called toum when meeting up with a friend at a local coffee shop. They were serving baked goods and our barista recommended trying the off-menu combination. My life was forever changed.
Toum can be a little tricky to make, and I’ve learned that adding the egg whites gives you an ‘insurance policy’ of sorts. Once you get the hang of it, you can absolutely make toum without the egg whites. I like to serve it alongside chicken, or fish. I’ll add other sauces to toum to make completely different creations. Anything you love with garlic, you’ll love with toum!
Removing the germ from the middle of the garlic is an optional step. It can some time and be a little tricky. I think it does make a noticeable difference in the final dish. If you’ve ever had garlic around that is past it’s prime, and it’s sprouted, that’s the germ. Removing it will make your toum less bitter.
Amani Hassan guest contributed the following thoughts on the cultural significance of toum. To learn more about Amani, visit her Instagram.
Lebanese Toum is a very popular condiment in the Middle East. The word “toum” is the Arabic word for garlic ثوم. Many Middle Eastern dips, like Toum, were traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. These days, a food processor does the trick! This delicious and extra garlicky sauce is often served with Middle Eastern street food like shawarma, falafel, and kabobs.
No Shawarma sandwich is complete without dipping it into toum! Authentic shawarma is made by stacking thinly sliced meat onto a spit (vertical rotisserie), and slowly cooking over a fire, and shaving off the yummy, cooked bits. Shawarma sandwiches are usually served with a side of fries and toum. This was always my favorite meal to eat in Ramallah, Palestine.
- Food processor
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg white
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 cups light olive oil
- Optional Step: Cut each glove of garlic in half. Using the tip of a paring knife, remove the germ from each garlic clove half. The germ is in the center of the garlic clove and is greenish in color. This can be a tedious step, but once you get the hang of it, it will go really quickly. The final product will be less bitter.
- Place the garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse garlic and occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Once the garlic and salt are minced, add half the lemon juice and continue processing until a paste begins to form.
- Add remaining lemon juice and egg white and process until smooth and slightly fluffy.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil in a very thin stream until all the oil and water have been incorporated. If your food processor has a drizzle basin, utilize it to maintain a small, steady stream of olive oil.
- I prefer the taste of olive oil, so my go-to is Filippo-Berio Extra Light Olive Oil, which perfectly makes two batches of mayo.
- My go-to eggs are Happy Egg Co’s Heritage Breed eggs. They are also pasture-raised on family farms. The beautiful green, blue, and brown shells make cooking more fun. Who doesn’t love more color in the kitchen!
How do you make toum?
What tools do I need to make toum?
- My favorite food processor is the Breville Sous Chef 16 Cup Food Processor. It comes with every attachment you could ever want to make cooking and meal prep so easy. Plus it’s built to last.
- Everything in the kitchen is a little easier when you have a good pairing knife. The Shun Classic Blonde 3.5” Paring Knife is my go-to knife. It is perfectly balanced and the handle is very comfortable in my hand.
How long can I store toum for?
In the refrigerator, it can be kept for up to one month.