Recently my friend Lindsey brought some sensational whipped garlic dips to a BBQ, which I promptly became obsessed with. While I may have suffered from extreme garlic breath for the following 72 hours, it was worth it for each bite of tangy, garlicky goodness. Apparently Lindsey found these dips at one of Los Angeles’s many farmers’ markets, and for a moment I contemplated tracking down the vendor in person and purchasing my own supply of the vampire-offending stuff. However, as is often the case, I couldn’t help but wonder if I, Ben Mandelker, could recreate the dips in the comfort of my own kitchen.

After some quick Googling on the topic of whipped garlic, I came to discover that this concoction was most likely toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce that has been met with nothing but raves from home cooks across the interwebs. The process looked simple enough, and soon I had selected a recipe that I would hopefully adopt as my own.

Pics and results after the jump…

All the ingredients I’ll need: salt, juice of a lemon, an egg white, olive oil, garlic, and ice water. It’s not unlike a homemade mayonnaise or aioli, neither of which I’ve ever made.

First we start with five cloves of garlic, salt, and a quarter of the lemon juice.

Blend until smooth — a generally easy step except that my Magic Bullet has the blades of a butter knife. Pureeing garlic is a challenge on par with nuclear cold fusion.

Next into the blender is the egg white, which foams up nicely after some brief whirring.

I then dribble in half the oil, which is no easy feat because the Magic Bullet manages to spew tiny droplets of pre-toum everywhere, despite my best efforts. Soon an emulsion forms.

From this point on, it’s straight up blending. First I dribble in the rest of the lemon juice, then the rest of the oil. When I’ve used up all the ingredients, I add a tablespoon or two of ice water to smooth out the consistency.

The final product.


Pretty good! This toum was not amazing in that it was actually too lemony (probably thanks to the over-large lemon I used) and not garlicky enough. If anything, it tasted like a garlic aioli, which is NOTHING to turn one’s nose up at. It’s just that compared to the garlic crack that Lindsey had introduced into my life, this toum wasn’t the same. However, I’m not giving up. I plan to make this sauce again, but with more garlic. It’ll be an on-going experiment, I suspect.

Nevertheless, I put the toum to good use. Not only did it work perfectly well as a dip for warm pita, it proved to be a perfect friend to canned tuna. A quick mix of the two yielded a fantastic and easy tuna salad. For that alone, it’s worth making.

If I find the proper ratio of lemon juice and garlic, I will undoubtedly report back to the blog.

In the meantime though, please make some toum for yourself. Check out the recipe here.

6 replies on “ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Toum Raider Edition”

  1. 2 suggestions
    First go get a stick blender, it is more useful that the Magic Bullet and easier to clean if you get the Cuisinart one that breaks in half (and it comes in cute colors).

    Second, it does sound like an aoli but it is missing the egg yolk. I think the yolk would add some richness and balance to the recipe. Perhaps you are looking for more a tzatiki sauce that can be made with greek yogurt and would be more of spread than an aoli?

    1. Oliver — great idea re: stick blender. I do have an immersion blender (from Cuisinart no less!); so I will put it to work!

      In terms of tzatziki, I absolutely love the stuff, but what I’m looking for is not the same. I have made tzatziki a bunch of times, courtesy of Ina Garten’s great recipe. Maybe I’ll make some tonight…

      1. Speaking of Ina, I want her friend TR back on the show. I’ve seen far too much of Stephen Drucker, Michael the florist, and the German lady from Loafs and Fishes. I miss TR and his rustic SUV.

        BTW a podcast on all of the supporting characters on Barefoot Contessa could be a genius idea. I think you could get a week’s worth of material from the Latin guy who does the outdoor lighting installations (sorry to go off topic).

  2. I love this stuff, too! I have tried making this same recipe a few years ago and while it came out nice and fluffy, it didn’t have the intense garlic flavor I was looking for. I wondered if maybe I should have let it sit longer to develop. Anyhow, I have not yet attempted the non-“fast-and-easy” recipe from the same site… and unfortunately have not had success finding it locally, either. My favorite restaurant that serves this is Open Sesame in Long Beach. It is simply spectacular.

  3. If you have an immersion blender, this is foolproof:

    1 head garlic (peeled cloves)
    1/4 c fresh lemon juice
    1/4 t salt
    2/3 – 3/4 c vegetable (or other neutral flavored oil) – more or less depending on the size of the garlic head

    Throw all ingredients into a narrow, cylindrical container and let ‘er rip. If you want to use the fancy mayonnaise technique where you add the oil on top of the other ingredients, and then slowly pull up with the blender running, feel free. Or if drizzling it in slowly is your thing, by all means, do it. I find with this recipe, it doesn’t matter, you’re going to get that gorgeous thick consistency anyway, no techniques necessary. Delish. Make fresh pita to have with it, please.

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