Garlic paste and a giveaway

This garlic mortar is used daily here in kitchens; years ago I even brought one back with me to California because I missed it and could not find it anywhere; now, these are sold in all Middle-Eastern grocery stores and I have since bought several. 

I want to stress that a garlic press or simply chopping garlic is not ideal if one wants to cook Lebanese dishes; the pounding of fresh garlic with salt resulting in a paste is what one should be after. It is used in salad dressings, soups, stews, pasta, in short everything.

Pounding garlic into a paste was my job as an apprentice cook at 12 and my mother made me pound away until the paste was really smooth. Since I try not to salt too much, if I use salt for the garlic paste (and there’s no way to do it without the salt), I don’t add it to the dish. 

I also try to find locally grown garlic; even in Lebanon, garlic-country, most of the garlic sold is imported from China, so the solution is either to plant one’s own or to find a grocer who stocks local garlic, called toom baladi

When I add the paste to stews or soups, I do so at the end of cooking to keep the garlic fresh and pungent. It is also healthier that way since garlic is such a potent spice when fresh (good for the heart, circulation, blood cleanser, etc).

Peel and cut the garlic clove lengthwise; remove the green shoot if it is in there (it gets bigger as the garlic gets older). Chop the garlic fine and place in the mortar with 1/2 tsp of salt; pound away for 2 or 3 minutes until the mixture is pasty. Use in cooking right away or transfer to a small bowl and cover with oil till needed.


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  1. Christine Poon
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Wow.. What a fantastic way to make garlic paste.

    Would love to win.

    Thank you

  2. rondah
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Great giveaway! Would love to have one of these!!

  3. Maureen
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    What a great item. We add garlic to a lot of the recipes that we make in our house.

  4. Loretta
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A mortar and pestle just for garlic makes total sense! How often had I been assigned to garlic bread duty where I used to volunteer, and fallen asleep that night to with smell of garlic on my hands… Not a bad thing, actually ^_^

  5. Ed Habib
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Both my sons commented last week they are very happy to be home from school for the Holidays as the smell of garlic and onions gives them a very comforting feeling.
    Happy New Year All

  6. Radka
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    This is something I definitely long for:)

  7. Christine Reilly
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Love love love to cook, and try new recipes all the time. Growing up, my mother was an amazingl Sicilian cook, and my Russian Grandmother made the most delicious food that I only have memories of. So sad that there were no written recipes left behind. I will never be able to duplicate her techniques. I cook with tons of garlic all the time, but have never used this method. Thank you for your blog..I have become very interested in Lebanese food since I found it. Everything on here sounds so delicious, and healthy. Thank you!

  8. Leigh
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I am in dallas! PICK ME! :D

  9. Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I am new to Beirut and am looking to fill out my kitchen, and a garlic grinder would be a welcome addition! Thanks!

  10. Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    These are the kind of tips that can make a foreign cuisine (to us) taste truly authentic!

  11. Posted January 10, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Thx for the tips…..must get a mortar bowl , or make one….cheers….here comes the shawarma !

  12. Amy Scott
    Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Would so love a mortar I could use for garlic only! Beautiful and useful. Thank you for your great recipes!!

  13. Melinda Fender
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I use garlic with a lot of my meals. I have been looking for the perfect wooden crusher for a long time. This one is awesome & would love to win!

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