This is one of the essential items in Lebanese food. You can make it every couple of weeks and store it in the fridge. Garlic paste or toom is used in a myriad ways:
- Slather it on pita bread when making sandwiches or falafel or sheesh tawuk
- Use it as an ingredient for making hummus or baba ghanuj or mtabbal
- Use it when making dressing for salads or fattoush
- Use it when making keftas or meatballs
- Use it in soups, swirled at the last minute
- Use it as a dip to scoop with toasted pita
Making toomis simple. The only task requiring some time is peeling the garlic cloves. I sit in front of the TV and do it! Grab a couple of bowls, one for the peels and one for the cloves.
2 heads of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped in half.
2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
2 teaspoons of salt or to taste
3/4 cup vegetable oil.
Optional: 1 small baked potato or 2 slices of white bread or 1/4 cup of mayo or drained plain yogurt.
Dump the cloves, salt, lemon juice in a mini food processor (or blender). Whirl for a couple minutes then add droplets of oil with the machine running. Continue until the mixture emulsifies. At this point, you can add and process any of the following: potato (cooked) or bread (american-style, crust removed), or mayo (from a jar) or drained yogurt . This last step is for the purpose of thickening the toom and dulling the sharpness of the garlic taste. I like it with the pure and pungent taste of garlic and also because I use it throughout the week, making salad dressing, or slathered on bread, or added to pasta sauce or in soups or stews or steamed vegetables for a little zing!