lebanese toum/toom (the best garlic sauce, aioli!)

Big box rotisserie chicken (Costco is our choice) has a regular place in the in-law diet, always accompanied by a strong tasting garlic yogurt sauce...until my second sister-in-law Nora remembered her Lebanese upbringing and googled toum to figure out how to make it for her family. But not for bob until Christmas eve dinner a whole year later. It almost did not happen since Nora's husband Mardy had forgotten to get garlic and Isgouhi was out too, but both she and ani were saying "We don't need it" because of garlic breath fear. Armenian Catholic Christmas eve church service was immediately after dinner. A dedicated garlic lover, bob insisted, dragging old Barkev along with him to the nearby supermarket where miserably small little garlic heads in plastic bags were found. (Old Barkev to distinguish from the young Barkev.) We tediously peeled a cup full of these little cloves. And waited for Nora to arrive.

bob did not pay any attention, unaware of this new development involving citrus acid. Sounds like bad chemistry but it comes from lemons...lemon acid is what she translated it as. Fortunately there was the You Tube video to see the detailed process of creating this mystery product. Apparently this is like mayonnaise with egg whites substituted by garlic. Mayonnaise, in case you are not informed, is a chemical emulsion of beaten egg and oil. Which bob usually avoids, thinking it is probably not very nutritionally beneficial.


1 c peeled garlic (2/3 c if this is too strong)
2 c vegetable oil (Canola)
1/2 t salt (optional)
1/2 t citric acid (lemon salt, instead of lemon juice)
a small handful of small ice cubes (optional).


  1. Prep the garlic, fresh of course. Load into your food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times to chop up, then add in the salt and lemon salt and a few tablespoons of oil and a few ice "cubes" (a cube is not the shape from today's freezer automatic ice makers) and food process a minute or two.
  3. Gradually very slowly, in just a thread of a stream of oil, pour the oil into the active food processor until fully incorporated, at least 5 minutes or more. Then add a few more ice cubes and continue food processing another minute or two.
  4. If this is your first attempt and it is too powerful, you can take some of the mixture and combine with yogurt to dilute it.
  5. Let sit a while before putting the product into a container for storage, with a paper towel on the top surface. Can last a few weeks in the fridge, it seems.


  1.  lebanese-garlic-sauce-toum: "Toum is the definitive garlic sauce, perfect for serving the same way you would mayonnaise: with grilled chicken, Lebanese-style, or simply as a condiment for sandwiches, meats and salads. It's like a mayonnaise, except this recipe uses garlic instead of eggs! "
  2. Mama's Lebanese Kitchen toom: "In Lebanon they call it �Toom� or �Toum� which literally means garlic. Our Egyptian siblings call it �Tooma�� Our Greek cousins have a similar version which they call �Aioli�. In the US it is generally referred to as garlic sauce, however the fact of the matter is that it�s closer to being a paste than a sauce. The intent at the end is the same, and whatever the name is, a successful garlic sauce has a white, creamy texture similar to that of mayo, sour cream or �Labneh� and with a pungent aroma of garlic, and a mouth-watering tong-tingling blood-pressure-lowering flavor that is a perfect marriage between garlic and lemon juice." All the food chemistry details found here and her suggested video from Chef Kamal in English.
  3. How to video "How to make toom" ice cube variation [mostly in Arabic, but everything is visual.]
  4. This makes a lot of product, so one might consider halving the recipe.
  5. If you live in Lebanon, this stuff comes with the rotisserie chicken so no need to hassle.
toum.htm: 8-mar-2014 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]