Addicted to that amazing garlic sauce that they serve at Lebanese garlic restaurants? I have to admit that I've tried making this at least half a dozen times and failed every single time and run away with my tail between my legs. Even using recipes that are said to be foolproof. But after I had a recent hit of it I became addicted to giving this a go and conquering my nemesis. Little did I realise that the Middle East's tastiest and most addictive condiment can be done in 2 minutes! And Dear Reader, this is definitely a pushy recipe!
While aioli is kissed with garlic (and sometimes barely so), toum is unashamedly forthrightly garlicky. It is not for the garlic shy or vampires. It has a fluffy texture, one that you could shape or cut with a knife. And up until now, it was the subject of an absolute fixation with me. I was obsessed with toum, conquering toum and eating toum. Now that I know how to make it, I just want to eat toum.
I will travel miles for great toum. It's literally the cure all and fix all for all food and is incredibly versatile. I was once given a jar and I think I finished the whole thing in about 3 days. It pairs well so beautifully with roast meats, especially chicken or beef and is one of those things that people wax lyrical about.
My most recent taste of garlic sauce was when we recently went out to Granville to El Jannah and Abla's. Laura, Kat and I were talking about chicken and garlic sauce and we all agreed that a trip out there was worth doing. We all agreed that we didn't care who we kissed that night, garlic sauce was 100% worth it.
On the day we went Kat got into the car and told us that all her work colleagues were rather envious of our trip and they raved about the garlic sauce. It was THAT good.
We braved a hailstorm for that garlic sauce. What I didn't mention was how great a driver Laura is. I begged off driving because I'm relatively new to it and can get distracted easily whereas I know that Laura is a great driver.
When the thunder and hail hit, I involuntarily screamed (I'm terrified of thunder and lightning) and she calmly said, "Babe, I'm going to need you to scream less," while manoeuvring around cars that had stopped while her little mini Skinny Mini took a beating. "Did you work for the secret service or something? Where did you get these crack driving skills from?" I asked her.
The food was good although it wasn't as amazing as the perilous trip would have called for but hey they were contending with a lot of things. We ordered double serving of toum and Kat bought an extra tub to take home with her along with our leftovers (we are total leftover queens). After dessert at nearby Abla's we drove home where the subject turned to Laura's single life. Because we are problem solvers Kat asked her about her ideal man.
"Bruce Willis," she said. It turns out that Laura has a thing for shorter, bald men that are older than her (she's in her early 30's). And Bruce Willis is her ideal guy. Kat's were approachably cute guys with a good sense of humour (Ryan Reynolds and Paul Rudd) while nobody knew mine (Joel Kinnaman). While I had to justify my like of tall men with good hair and left leaning politics, nobody had to try harder to explain her love of Bruce Willis than Laura.
Luckily all of us understood the love of garlic sauce or toum. That much was a given. Because while girlfriends may not understand your choice of man, they'll understand your love of toum...
So tell me Dear Reader, do you worry about eating garlic? Do you love toum? And who is your ideal partner and do you have to explain their appeal to friends?
Lebanese Garlic Sauce or Toum
Adapted from Yumbo McGillicutty
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 0 minutes
- 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup oil (neutral flavoured, I used canola)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon salt
Step 1 - Place the garlic in a measuring jug or the tall, narrow jug that comes with your stick blender. Chop up the garlic using the stick blender. Then add the remaining ingredients: oil, water, lemon juice, egg white and salt. With the stick blender resting on the bottom of the jug turn it on and move it around in slow circles. It will immediately start to turn white. Move the stick blender up to catch the oil and then keep whizzing until all the oil has disappeared and you get a fluffy, white spreadable paste.