Why You Should Never Make Traditional Toum Sauce In A Blender

They say oil and water don't mix, but in the culinary world, oil and water come together to create all kinds of delicious sauces and dressings. Take the creamy, pungent sauce called toum, for example. Toum is a fluffy Lebanese garlic sauce combining garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice, water, and neutral oil. The yummy concoction can be used as a dip or spread and is often served with grilled meats, kabobs, shawarma, or falafel. Similar to mayonnaise, toum is an emulsion of oil and water, but stabilized with garlic instead of eggs. So not only is toum vegan, but it's also incredibly flavorful, adding the perfect punch to an otherwise plain dish.

If you've ever tried making a homemade mayonnaise recipe, you know that thoroughly dispersing the oil and water is essential. But unlike mayonnaise, you have to take special care when preparing toum, because it's a much more delicate emulsion. The keys to achieving perfect toum texture are balancing the addition of oil and water throughout the blending process, and going slow as you mix the ingredients. For the creamiest, fluffiest result, avoid using a blender or immersion blender to mix your toum. These methods create a thinner, denser texture that resembles a dressing more than a light, traditional toum.

Use a small food processor for the best toum texture

Toum is an emulsion, which means that making it requires you to magically mix oil and water — a task that needs lots of patience and precision. An emulsion combines two disparate liquids by dispersing droplets of one liquid throughout the other, resulting in a thicker liquid. Without an emulsifier or binding agent, emulsions are only temporary and can separate. Toum is a relatively stable emulsion, though the smashed garlic tissues and proteins from the aromatic vegetable are much more delicate than the emulsifying lecithin of eggs used in mayonnaise, and require a careful blending process.

Using some types of electronic mixers is certainly possible when making toum, but you might want to bench the blender for something a bit more precise and gentle. A small food processor with small blades is better for really pulverizing all the little pieces of garlic cloves. As a delicate emulsion, toum is all about properly dispersing the oil and water throughout the blended garlic, meaning that a large, bulky blender might not provide the most even mixture. While more easily controlled for blending smaller mixtures, like toum, the imprecision of an immersion blender could also cause your toum emulsion to break, becoming runny and dense. Use a small food processor for the ideal texture in your ultra-garlicky toum, and take it super slow when alternating the oil and water ingredients. Now enjoy some garlic goodness.