Cookbook:Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

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Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)
Category Lebanese recipes

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes

Toum or Thoum is a garlic sauce used in Lebanon.


To make 1 cup toum, use 10-40 grams of fresh, peeled garlic (less for a milder thoum, more for a stronger one), 3/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon (strained), and 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt.


Traditionally a wooden pestle is used to smash the garlic with salt; you can add the salt at the beginning or after the garlic is well smashed. When the garlic is very smooth, oil is added gradually and mixed. Start by adding one drop at a time and stirring the oil into the garlic with the pestle. After you've added about 1 tbsp of oil and it's been well incorporated, you can drizzle the oil in rather than adding it drop by drop. After 1/2 the oil is added you can alternate a bit of lemon juice with a bit of oil. Don't add too much oil at once; add it very gradually.

wooden mortar used to prepare Toum

Don't stop for long while mixing; it's necessary to keep stirring, stopping only for very brief periods.

When finished the toum will have a similar consistency to thick mayonnaise.

In Lebanon the pestle used is usually wooden; some new one are made of synthetic materials; occasionally you'll see one carved of stone. Carved stone pestles are usually used for Kebbeh Nayyeh.

The method described above is the traditional way toum is prepared in most parts of Lebanon.

You can also crush the garlic and salt to a very smooth paste and then use a blender, food processor, or stick blender to incorporate the oil and lemon juice.

It is possible to use olive oil, but the toum will be yellowish, rather than white. Also, the pH of some olive oils can promote breaking of the emulsion.