Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce, also known as Toum, is a Lebanese condiment served at traditional Middle Eastern kebab and shawarma restaurants.
The quick & easy recipe features just 4 simple common pantry items: garlic cloves, salt, vegetable oil and lemon juice.
Our favourite Lebanese garlic sauce is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and keto friendly.
Enjoy a dollop of toum as a dip or spread with Middle Eastern dishes like falafel, kibbeh, shawarma, kafta kebab and roast eggplant.
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What Is Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce?
Toum, also known as Salata Toum, Toumya or Lebanese Garlic Sauce, is a popular Middle Eastern garlicky vegan mayonnaise.
The word toum is how the arabic word for garlic, “thoum,” is pronounced in the dialect of the people from the Levant region.
Lebanese Garlic Sauce is similar to aioli, which is popular in Provence, France and southern regions of Spain (Ibiza, Mallorca, Malaga, Valencia, Seville, Granada, Cordoba).
Authentic Kebab Garlic Sauce is traditionally prepared in a mortar and pestle by crushing together 4 simple ingredients: garlic cloves, vegetable oil, lemon juice and salt.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, the thick garlic spread is traditionally served as a condiment served with Chicken Shawarma or Kebab. You’ll also find toum enjoyed with falafel, mixed grill platters and barbecued vegetables such as roasted eggplant.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy Lebanese garlic sauce today is as a dip for for French fries, crispy artichokes or roast chicken.
Travel to the the Middle East by Making Toum at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Kebab Garlic Sauce via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai.
You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East feature Lebanese Garlic Sauce slathered on crispy spiced meat.
I ate creamy toum garlic sauce with flat bread at a traditional Moroccan riad, slathered over Turkish kebab in Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by kofta on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night shawarma feast in Amman, mid-afternoon grilled meat snack at bustling markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and a massive Middle Eastern meat platter in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Middle Eastern restaurant that serves an authentic Kebab Garlic Sauce.
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample Lebanese Garlic Sauce at a local restaurant to better understand how the condiment is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired creaminess of the sauce and intensity of garlic and lemon. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with toum such as spiced grilled chicken, fresh salads and flatbread.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve a traditional Kebab Garlic Sauce recipe include Ali Baba’s, Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen and Paramount Fine Foods.
My Family Loves Lebanese Kebab Garlic Sauce
When my family moved to Oakville the first restaurant we visited was a local Egyptian and Lebanese restaurant called Agabi. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in Oakville, Agabi, became our family’s go-to Mediterranean take out joint.
We’ve been eating at Agabi for years and have tasted almost every dish on the menu. Each member of my family has discovered a favourite dish, that we always seem to consistently order.
My father loves the Creamy Chicken, muddled with mushrooms and onions. My mother is a fan of the Lamb Shashlik, grilled to perfection with green pepper and mushroom. My sister always orders the Chicken Pineapple, marinated boneless chicken served with crispy bacon and juicy pineapple. I’ve always had a heart for Agabi Oakville’s signature Chicken Shawarma Plate, best served alongside a Greek Salad, aromatic rice and a pungent puddle of Lebanese Garlic Sauce.
After discovering the perfect homemade Kebab Garlic Sauce at Agabi, my family would always seek out the next best thing. We’ve traveled to Israel, Jordan, Egypt and beyond…always keen to experience a new and fresh take on the authentic Middle Eastern condiment.
If it’s your first time making homemade toum it’s important to read through our step-by-step recipe directions below before you start.
Homemade vegetarian toum is easy to make in a food processor at home. The vegan sauce is essentially a thick emulsion, like mayonnaise or hollandaise, where a mountain of garlic cloves, vegetable oil, salt and lemon juice slowly combine to create a thick mixture.
In a modern kitchen, a blender or food processor allows home cooks to prepare Kebab Garlic Sauce in a matter of minutes. If you’re looking to prepare the Lebanese condiment authentically, you can also opt for the more labour intensive mortar and pestle method.
While making toum is quick & easy, you can easily ruin the thick Kebab Garlic Sauce by causing it to split, or fall out of colloidal dispersion into a thin sauce.
Temperature is a very important factor to consider when making homemade Kebab Garlic Sauce. We suggest storing all of the ingredients in the fridge for at least an hour before you start to blend in the food processor. Keeping the ingredients cold helps the lemon juice and oil transform from liquids into a thick sauce.
The most authentic Kebab Garlic Sauce recipes require you to remove the germ of each garlic clove. The germ has an undesirable acrid flavour so by removing it with a pairing knife you ensure your raw, vegan garlic sauce isn’t overpowering. If you’re feeling time crunched you can always prepare toum with the germ attached but just be aware the garlicky flavour will be more prominent.
The most important tip we can offer when making Kebab Garlic Sauce for the first time is to slowly alternate adding the oil and lemon juice to the pureed garlic. Remember, toum is a colloidal dispersion like mayonnaise, where liquid egg and oil combine to make thick and stable sauce. If you’ve ever made hollandaise or mayonnaise at home you’ll know they are temperamental sauces that require a perfect balance to remain stable.
If you add all of the oil to the food processor at once you’ll find the sauce breaks, coming apart as you add the acidic lemon juice. Once you have pureed the garlic, slowly pour the vegetable oil and lemon juice into the food processor. Alternate between the two liquids until the Kebab Garlic Sauce has thickened and is a stable mixture.
We love to double this Lebanese Garlic Sauce recipe as it stores in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Kebab Garlic Sauce Ingredients
The best Lebanese Garlic Sauce is made with 4 simple everyday ingredients.
- Garlic: The main toum ingredient is also the star of the show! Find the freshest garlic bulbs you can find. We love elephant garlic as it’s huge and easy to handle with a pairing knife. Purchasing a larger garlic variety is helpful as you’ll be peeling cloves until the cows come home. 1 cup of peeled garlic cloves is typically 3-4 heads of garlic.
- Oil: We prefer to use Canadian canola oil (we’re so patriotic!) but you can also use other neutral vegetable oils such as safflower oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil.
- Lemon Juice: Only use ripe lemons freshly squeezed. Do not use commercial store-bought lemon juice or you’ll spoil all your hard work! Feel free to add zing to your homemade Kebab Garlic Sauce by incorporating a few pinches of fresh lemon zest.
- Salt: We suggest using Kosher salt. Salt is essential in this recipe as it helps bring out the flavours of the garlic and lemon while also offering a mechanical benefit, grating against the garlic cloves.
What To Serve With Homemade Garlic Sauce
Kebab Garlic Sauce is served at Middle Eastern restaurants as a condiment for grilled meats like chicken shawarma and kofta. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, enjoy toum slathered over roasted eggplant, tabbouleh and grilled pita.
We love to serve this popular Middle Eastern condiment with other dips such as hummus, melitzanosalata, tahini, baba ghannouj, labneh and tzaziki.
If you’re hosting a large dinner party we suggest offering a Middle Eastern Buffet. We find folks love a DIY culinary challenge and it’s especially fun for families with kids.
Set your kitchen counter up with bowls of pickles, olives, Middle Eastern dips, fresh salads, bowl of Kebab Garlic Sauce and a selection of barbecued meat and seafood. Each guest can create their very own healthy Middle Eastern bowl from the platter you masterfully create!
How To Fix Kebab Garlic Sauce When It Breaks
If the emulsion breaks, you can easily bring it back together by adding an egg white.
Simply combine 1 egg white with 1/4 cup of the broken emulsion in the bowl of a food processor until fluffy. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the remaining broken emulsion.
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Best Lebanese Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce Recipe
Lebanese Kebab Garlic Sauce
- Food processor
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- 1 cup Garlic cloves (130 g) peeled
- 2 tsp Salt Kosher Salt
- 3 cups Canola oil
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Ice water
- Using a paring knife, slice each garlic clove in half lengthwise. With the tip of the knife, gently remove the germ from each half of the garlic.
- Place the garlic cloves and kosher salt in a food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure that all of the garlic is finely pureed.
- Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and continue pulsing in the processor until a paste begins to form. Add another tablespoon lemon juice and process until completely smooth and slightly fluffy.
- Turn the food processor back on and slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the oil through the lid of the food processor. After the first 1/2 cup has been added, pour in a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Continue alternating between 1/2 cup of the canola oil and a tablespoon of ice water. Alternating between the two liquids is the key to proper emulsification which creates the light and fluffy garlic sauce.
- You know your shawarma garlic sauce is done once the mixture is white and thick with a similar consistency of mayonnaise. It typically takes 10-15 minutes.
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