This is one of the essential items in Lebanese food. You can make it every week 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 toom is simple. There are several ways out there, so I am going to give you two methods. 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; my first method is the following
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 head of garlic (10 cloves or more), cloves peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Mix the starch with water until smooth. Heat in a small saucepan while stirring until thickened.
- Place the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor. Process for a few minutes until mashed, adding the oil then lemon juice through the feed tube slowly. Add the cornstarch mixture and process until creamy and uniform. Store in the fridge for 3 days.
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!
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