Tips for making the perfect Lebanese Garlic Sauce

photo: KCET Los Angeles
Lately, we've been obsessed with toum, or Lebanese Garlic Sauce. I found a recipe video online (actually, it found me; it just appeared on my Facebook feed one day). The instructions seemed really simple: mince garlic in a food processor, then slowly add oil and lemon juice until the mixture reaches a fluffy consistency.

Our first batch ended up an oily, soupy mess. It turns out that there's more to making toum than just throwing things together (my preferred method of making just about anything). to making sure this sauce emulsifies properly (i.e. doesn't separate into oils and solids).

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making Lebanese Garlic Sauce:

1) Pour the liquids into the food processor SLOWLY.
I can't emphasize this enough! Don't just dump everything in. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice slowly, in a thin, steady stream, in equal parts, over a total time of 10 minutes. Make sure the liquid is incorporating nicely before pouring more.

2) Use a good food processor.
Ten minutes is a looooong time when you're running a food processor. My food processor is a fairly decent brand (Cuisinart), and after ten minutes of constant churning, the motor was hooooooooot. I can easily imagine a cheap food processor's motor burning out!

3) Use a large capacity food processor.
The recipe I used calls for 4 cups of oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup garlic. I didn't think about the fact that my food processor only holds about 4 cups of liquid.

4) Measure exact amounts
I'm the kind of cook who always likes to throw in an extra pinch of cinnamon, an extra splash of vanilla, and extra shake of curry powder. I was way too generous when measuring out my garlic, so our first batch was so garlicky, our skin was exuding garlic for hours after our meal! Remember, this is raw garlic, so don't be tempted to pile your 1 cup of garlic too high, like I did.


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1 comment:

Ed Lopez said...

Cool! I just bought a food processor in January. So I could add veggie dip among the things I make. I will try this.