Ali Oli

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 “skordalia” and in Spain it’s referred to as “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, and is perfect to add to any recipe to improve their flavor, so for everyone eating healthy or in a Premier keto for losing weight, this sauce could be really good to improve their food since is really healthy as well.

Garlic Sauce Used in a Chicken Shish Tawook Sandwich
This garlic paste goes very well with many BBQs, especially chicken Shawarma, grilled chicken, kebob BBQ and Chicken Shish Tawook (featured above). You can also spread it over baked or boiled potatoes along with a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper and dried mint, and it also tastes wonderful if you wrap it in a pita bread along with some salty cheese and grill it in a panini grill. Finally, some may be surprised but we tried it spread over Kibbeh Nayyeh (raw kibbeh) and it was out of this world. Check out our Chicken Shawarma , Chicken Shish Tawook, or Lebanese Grilled Chicken recipes.

The SECRET is in the Process of Emulsion, or Emulsification
One day while discussing the process of making this garlic sauce with a dear family friend, Dr. Hisham Abdallah who is a Biotech scientist, and while complaining about how delicate making this sauce is, he pointed out that the reason the sauce breaks is likely due to certain violations that are happening to the process of “emulsification.” It turns out that a chemical reaction called “emulsification” is at the very heart of the making of the garlic sauce.

Simply put, emulsification is a process which allows liquids (water) and oils to “mix,” and turn into a “cream” in the presence of an emulsifier or emulsifying agent, and with the help of an external mechanical force such as grinding, shaking, stirring, spinning, or even using ultrasonic waves. The sequence in which oils and water are added, and the ratios also matter a lot and an imbalance can easily break the emulsification process and turn the ingredients back into a liquid state. That is exactly what happens when our garlic paste breaks in frustration as it gets overwhelmed with oil.

Lebanese Garlic Sauce and Paste

The process of emulsification is used in the beauty and medical industry to make creams and beauty products, and it’s the same process used in making Mayonnaise and vinaigrette, and of course, this garlic paste.

Lecithin is a common emulsifier that is used in the food industry in making creamy food products. It is found naturally in eggs and in soy beans. That is why some folks use an egg white in making this garlic dip in order to help speeding the process of emulsification and to increase the chances of success. However we personally don’t like using raw eggs in our garlic dip mainly because we feel that it leaves an undesirable subtle aftertaste, even though many folks don’t even notice it due to the potent flavor of garlic. Instead, we depend purely on the emulsifiers that naturally occur in the garlic. This along with some patience, and a careful following of the procedure, should yield an egg-free successful fluffy garlic paste. If one wants to go the extra step, Soy Lecithin which can be found in specialty baking stores, or on Amazon, can also be used as an added emulsifier in making this garlic dip. Mira, a molecular gastronomy blogger noted that Lecithin shouldn’t alter the taste if used in small quantities.

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