Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Ok, now let’s set things straight, this stuff is potent. I mean ‘brush your teeth eight times and you still have garlic breath’ and ‘garlic is coming out of every pore’ potent. You will be burping garlic for 12 hours and cursing yourself the following morning. But fear less, it tastes SO good you will make this again time after time.

If you haven’t tried Toum before, I’m so sorry you poor thing. Grab yourself these pantry essentials, blend and emulsify then come back and praise me. Lebanese Garlic dip is a gastronomically sensation, and must be experienced by all!

All Lebanese restaurants will serve up their version of fluffy and creamy garlic dip with charcoal chicken or shawarma, along with pink turnip pickles. They also usually sell the stuff on the side for about $5-$8 for a small 100ml pot. Now you can make your own for a fraction of the price, but be warned, it’s truly addictive and you may never be able to eat chicken without it.

I have found through experience there are two ways of making this. Those scared of raw egg can make the first version (however it takes a lot longer and requires a lot of patience) and those who aren’t really concerned about raw egg can make the easier and quicker version that takes less oil

The first version requires a heavy duty food processor. The food processor will be on continuously for ten minutes so please use a good quality processor so that the motor doesn’t burn up. The second variety uses a blender and can be made in 3 flat!

I have also found through experience that Sunflower Oil is by far the best to use for this recipe. Please do not use olive oil. It is too strong and will completely change the taste of the dip. Also, try to buy local garlic, not the Chinese variety. It makes all the difference. Unless of course you live in China and Chinese garlic IS your local…

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Version One: Eggless ‘Food Processor’ Toum:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups Sunflower or any other neutral Oil. Do not use olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled whole garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put salt and garlic cloves in food processor and pulse. Scrape the sides until all the garlic is the same in size.

Turn on the food processor once again and do not stop it until done. In a very thin stream, add ¼ cup oil very gradually. Please do add it very slowly, don’t rush it or the sauce will split. Once you have added ¼ cup oil, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice also very slowly, drop by drop. Add another thin stream of ¼ cup oil then 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Keep doing this until you have used up your lemon and oil. The process will take 10 minutes. Be patient. If your sauce has split by the end of it and isn’t a fluffy dip, you can try to add 2 teaspoons of cold water or add 1 icecube and wack on the processor again for a few minutes. If that hasn’t worked, abort mission or *gulp* add a raw egg white and process for another 3 minutes.

Version Two: Quick and Easy ‘Blender’ Toum

  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 egg white
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • 1 cup of Sunflower or any other neutral oil. Do not use Olive Oil

 Put the garlic cloves and salt along with ¼ of the lemon juice in the blender, and blend on medium, scraping down the sides. Add the egg white. Add ½ cup of oil in a slow and steady pour.

Turn the blender onto its slowest speed and add the rest of the lemon juice slowly then once again add the second half of the oil slowly and steadily.

Finally, add the 2 tablespoons of ice cold water and it’s done.

If the dip has split, try adding another egg white and blitz on high for a couple of minutes.

Slather and spread. Devour. Burp. Regret. Eat some more.

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip


Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

I love herbs! Love everything about them. Love growing them, picking them, chopping them and most of all bashing the crap out of them to make a great pesto.

In this case, Chimichurri, a wonderful Argentinean green sauce essentially made from herbs, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Unlike pesto there are no nuts of any sort and no parmesan cheese.

What you do have is wonderful, fragrant and often pungent sauce that you smother your steak with to bring it up a level. I can’t get enough.

I like to use a mortar and pestle, especially after a long day in the office. I find it smoothing and a wonderful form of stress relief to grab that pestle and pound away, thump thump thump! I love the satisfaction of seeing what was once a firm green stem wilt away as they incorporate the surrounding flavours and release its natural oils. By all means use a food processor, it’s certainly easier and less time consuming, but you miss out on the most exciting part of making this sauce

The best part of this recipe, is that you can alter it to whatever herb you have in the garden. The quantities are loose. Don’t like dill? Don’t have basil? Leave it out! Love oregano? Add more oregano! I would be inclined to not use woody herbs though, like thyme or rosemary.

Traditional Chimichurri Sauce is made using oregano and parsley only but I find I just chuck in whatever is growing in the patch at the time. This is my favourity flavour combo:

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup dill leaves
½ cup oregano leaves
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons vinegar – red/white wine, balsamic, apple cider; feel free to experiment!
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
3 small chillis (optional)

Wash your herbs well to remove any gritty sand/soil. Be sure to dry them properly to remove any excess water. Process the herbs and garlic and chilli in the food processor or mortar and pestle until soft and well combined. Stir in the oil, vinegar, salt and serve. This can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serve it over ripe tomatoes with bocconcini for a lovely salad, on char grilled sourdough bread, in your next burger, over a nice medium-rare steak or over some grilled chicken breast. The uses are endless..

Chimichurri Sauce


Chimichurri Sauce