Years ago, my mother and I used to go to an amazing restaurant called “Mediterranean Corner.” It was the most delicious place in the world to eat. I LOVED it. It closed a couple of years ago, and I really almost cried.
They had the most amazing garlic cream sauce. My mother and I tried (unsuccessfully) to dissect it…figure out what was inside. I have made countless falafel and kebab sauces online to no avail. It plagued me.
The other day, I asked my friend Kelly if she knew what the heck the mystery sauce was. She told me it was called “toom” (I have seen it spelled “toum” also.) I was SO excited to have a name for it…much easier to find a recipe for it that way than to google “amazingly delicious addictive garlicky sauce that surely has crack in it.”
Turns out, it doesn’t contain crack. Go figure.
What is really interesting to me is that for all these years I was sure it had dairy in it. Yogurt perhaps. Nope! It’s an aioli…made by emulsifying just a few ingredients:
All you need to make this mysterious sauce? Lemon juice, garlic, salt, ice water, egg white and a neutral oil such as sunflower.
That’s what has evaded me for years.
I made a batch that very night. It needed tweaking, but it was oh so delicious. I have played with a few recipes a bit and have come up with what I think is a pretty darn good Lebanese Toom/Toum sauce:
Five garlic cloves, peeled
One egg white
Juice of half a lemon
liberal pinch of salt
1 cup neutral oil, such as sunflower, preferably high-oleic.
1 TBSP of ice water
Mouthwash (for later.)
The process is very easy. Do not be intimidated. I used a food processor, but a blender will work just fine.
Step one: Put the garlic, salt, and about a tsp of the lemon juice in the food processor/blender. Blend/pulse for a bit and scrape the sides down…the garlic will go everywhere.
Once sides are scraped down, add the egg white. Blend for about five seconds.
Next, add 1/2 of the oil slowly. My food processor has a lid/cap with a small hole that allows me to drizzle things in without standing there forever. If you are using a blender, add it in slowly.
It should be emulsifying. It will look creamy, a bit like mayo.
Next, add the rest of the lemon juice, also slowly.
Now, repeat the slow addition of oil with the remaining 1/2 cup. 🙂
At this point, it should be thick and creamy. Now add one TBSP of ice water and pulse just a few more times.
It should look smooth like this now:
Put it into a dish or container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it. I wouldn’t keep this around much more than 2 days w/that raw egg white in there. It won’t last that long anyway though, really. Rest assured, you will eat it. All.
Prepare yourself for your new-found ability to scare vampires away…just embrace it now. It’s worth it.
Stay tuned for the chicken kebab that I am serving this with tonight!