Make Toum

Introduction: Make Toum

About: Voracious reader, incessant tinkerer. Had many careers - culinary, manual labor, computer tech, programmer/analyst, engineer, manager... A mind forever voyaging!

Toum is a garlic and lemon based "dressing" used in Middle Eastern cooking. White, creamy and screams of garlic! Great on Middle Eastern foods, as a salad dressing, as a finish for grilled meats, or just as a topping for pita bread. (For those who have been there, this is the same as the process I published on wikihow - using it to "get my feet wet" on Instructables :o)

Step 1: Get Your Gear

You'll need:

A food processor
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Rubber scraper

1/2 c peeled garlic cloves, head "nub" removed
1 t salt
1/4 c lemon juice
2 c oil, canola or olive oil preferred
A pinch or two of cayenne pepper

Step 2: Beware the Water!

Ensure all items are at room temperature, and that your tools are clean and dry. Water is your enemy here, and very little of it can cause your emulsion to fail.

Step 3: All In, Part I

Put the salt, pepper, and garlic into food processor bowl.

Step 4: Do the Bump and Grind...

Pulse until garlic is finely chopped and well mixed with the salt, stopping occasionally to scrape the mixture to the center of the bowl. THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP! Do not rush the processing of the garlic with the salt. Repeat the processing and scraping to center until the garlic is very fine - five to ten cycles.

Step 5: And Now for Something Completely Different!

Turn the food process on in constant mode. Take the lemon juice in one hand and the oil in the other, positioned to pour in to the the food processor bowl. (Sorry - other hand is holding the camera. My third hand had the day off...)

Step 6: Is It Drizzling?

Slowly drizzle the oil into the food processor. The stream should resemble a thin thread - the key is to pour slowly. Initially, it will look like garlic and oil soup, but, when enough oil is added, the garlic, salt and oil will react and combine into a white emulsion. You'll hear a change in the food processor motor's pitch as well as see the change in the bowl.

Step 7: When the World Hands You Lemons, Make Toum...

At this point, continue to pour the oil as a thin stream, but also start pouring the lemon juice, also in a very fine stream. You should run out of juice before you've finished pouring the oil - that's OK!

Step 8: Beware the Puddles. or Not.

The emulsion may build to the point that the additions of oil simply pool on top. If this happens, stop the processor and "cut" the emulsion with your scraper, ensuring you are creating a path for the oils to drain down toward the blade. Pulse the food processor to incorporate this oil into the toum.

Step 9: Add a Turban...

Remove the top from the food processor, and cover the bowl with a towel (paper towel works fine), and refrigerate. This prevents any condensation from the sauce as it cools from falling back into it - added moisture can cause the emulsion to break, leaving you with a lemon-garlic oil (which is still usable for other purposes - like a hotdog marinade, I might add. Just a bit disappointing!).

Step 10: Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Once chilled, transfer to a suitable storage container, and keep refrigerated. Toum keeps a very long time - a month or more - before it begins to separate.

Step 11: Mmmmm, Mmmmm Good!

Serve with pita wedges, shawarma; on salads, sandwiches, fingers, or as a mop for barbecued meats. Yum!

Makes about 2-1/2 c

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