By Evelyn Mosley
During our weeks of “safer at home” self-quarantine, Dr. Christopher Hobbs, via webinar, was one of several herbalists who shared ways to strengthen our immune and respiratory systems using plant-based remedies.
Dr. Christopher Hobbs mentioned that he consumes raw garlic daily to keep his immune and respiratory systems strong. Dr. Hobbs said he likes to get his daily raw garlic dose by taking a spoonful of a Lebanese sauce called Toum. Arabic for “garlic,” Toum is an emulsion of raw garlic, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and salt. Enjoy Toum as a dip, a spread, or a sauce, just to name a few uses. Toum has the appearance of mayonnaise. It keeps in the refrigerator for at least 4 weeks.
Dr. Hobbs’ mention of Toum struck a happy chord with me as my husband and I have enjoyed Toum at The Scarlett Bee, a favorite Asheville restaurant that specializes in Lebanese cuisine. The Scarlett Bee features Toum as a dip on Mezze platters and includes the savory Toum in multiple ways in most of their main dishes.
Toum adds fabulously delicious flavor however it is incorporated into a dish! But I must warn you–Toum with its pungent raw garlic is not for the faint hearted! Be forewarned! Having a lush supply of parsley is wise! You may want to munch parsley after you enjoy Toum to mitigate the lingering, powerful garlic flavor!
I had been wanting to make Toum after enjoying it several times in Asheville and had already checked out several recipes. I chose a recipe “Traditional Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce) Recipe” by Sohla El-Waylly from Serious Eats which I made in my food processor. The hardest part, and most time consuming, was peeling the garlic!
The recipe makes 3 – 4 cups. Do use a neutral-flavored vegetable oil, not olive oil, and fresh garlic and lemon juice. The food processor is your friend for this recipe. I have shared my Toum with friends and family, reminding them that while a serving is approximately a teaspoon, expect to want more!
Traditional Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce) Recipe
- 1 cup cloves garlic, peeled 4 1/2 ounces; 130g
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt for table salt, use 1 teaspoon
- ¼ cup 60g fresh juice from about 2 lemons, divided
- ¼ cup 60g ice water, divided
- 3 cups 600g neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, divided
- Using a paring knife, split each garlic clove in half lengthwise. With the tip of the knife, remove the germ from each garlic clove half.
- Place the de-germed garlic and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse garlic in short bursts, occasionally removing the lid to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible rubber spatula, until finely minced. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and continue processing until a paste begins to form. Add another tablespoon lemon juice and process until completely smooth and slightly fluffy.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup oil in a very thin stream, followed by 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Repeat with another 1/2 cup oil and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Continue the process, alternating 1/2 cup oil and 1 tablespoon water, until all the oil and water have been incorporated. Transfer toum to a container and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.