How to Make Garlic Paste

Опубликовал Admin
7-04-2021, 22:00
Garlic contains enough water that you can turn it into a chunky paste simply by chopping and crushing it. With just a couple extra ingredients and some precise mixing, you can transform the garlic into toum instead, a fluffy Middle Eastern spread.

Making a Two-Ingredient Garlic Paste

  1. Peel the garlic. Start with firm, fresh garlic, since the plant develops a harsh, bitter taste as it ages. Peel the cloves and remove any green sprouts (another source of bitterness).
    • One easy way to peel garlic is to smash it with the side of a chef's knife, then pull off the loosened skin.
  2. Mince the garlic. Chop the garlic as finely as possible with a large, sharp chef's knife.
    • If you have a zip-locked bag, a meat mallet, and a rolling pin, skip the chopping and scroll down to the end of this section.
  3. Add a generous pinch of coarse salt. Sea salt or other coarse-grained salt helps grind the garlic into a paste, and draws out moisture for a softer, juicier result.
  4. Chop the garlic into a paste. Scrape the garlic into a small pile. Hold the blunt edge of your knife with both hands, pointing it away from you at a low angle, close to the cutting board. Scrape the knife over the garlic repeatedly until it forms a paste. Occasionally scrape the garlic back into a pile and mince briefly to remove large pieces.
  5. Pulverize the garlic in a plastic baggie instead. If you have the right tools, there's a faster way to turn garlic into a paste:
    • Drop the peeled garlic and salt into a small plastic baggie. Seal the bag closed.
    • Crush the garlic lightly with a meat mallet, without tearing the bag.
    • Finish the job with a rolling pin. Periodically pick up the bag and squeeze the garlic to the bottom to ensure a smooth paste.
  6. Use immediately for maximum flavor. Try the paste on garlic bread, toss onto pasta, or add to stir fries.
    • If you do have leftovers, store in the coldest part of your fridge. Discard after three days even if there are no obvious signs of spoilage.

Making Lebanese Garlic Paste-Toum

  1. Peel the garlic. Peel three heads of garlic (about 30 cloves). You do not need to chop them, but do cut out and discard any green sprouts. Young, unsprouted garlic is best, as it has a less harsh flavor.
    • You can scale down this recipe, but only if you have a small blender or food processor. A large food processor requires at least this much garlic in order to process it smoothly.
    • To peel a large quantity of garlic, drop the cloves into a metal bowl. Turn a second bowl the same size upside down and place them together to form a dome. Shake vigorously for a minute or two to remove the peel.
  2. Process garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. Combine the whole garlic cloves with salt to taste, or about 1 tsp (5 mL). Run the food processor or blender until the garlic is evenly chopped into small pieces. Stop whenever the garlic is thrown to the sides, then scrape it back down to the center using a rubber spatula.
  3. Turn on the machine and leave it on. The rest of this recipe will create an emulsion, combining oil and water into a smooth paste. It's important to leave the blender or food processor on throughout the next few steps, or the oil and water may separate and leave you with a broken sauce.
    • Depending on the endurance of your blender, you may need to move fast to avoid overtaxing the motor.
  4. Add one egg white (optional). Separate the white of one egg and blend into the garlic until smooth. While not required, the egg white contains emulsifiers that will make it much easier to keep the garlic paste together. It may have a slight effect on the aftertaste, but this is barely noticeable under the garlic.
    • Uncooked egg white can harbor salmonella, a bacteria that causes illness. To avoid this, use the white of a pasteurized egg, replace with powdered egg white, or skip this step entirely. Salmonella is most dangerous to young children, pregnant women, elderly people, and people with compromised immune systems.
  5. Add some of the oil in a thin stream. Pour a light, neutral-flavored oil very slowly down the side of the blender or food processor. Adding the oil too quickly is a common source of broken sauces. Keep pouring until you've added about ½ cup (120 mL) of oil.
    • Canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil all fit the bill.
    • Traditional recipes use olive oil, which makes a denser sauce. (This may be why toum is often described as a paste despite its usually fluffy consistency.) However, olive oil also lends a somewhat bitter flavor, especially after storing.
  6. Add a little lemon juice. Now add ½ tsp (2.5 mL) lemon juice, again pouring slowly. Wait a few seconds until the juice is well absorbed. This adds flavor and creates the right ratio of oil to water.
  7. Alternate between oil and lemon juice. Repeat the last two steps, slowly pouring in ½ cup (120 mL) of oil, then ½ tsp (2.5 mL) lemon juice. Continue for the next 8–10 minutes, until you run out of an ingredient or until the garlic paste looks fluffy and smooth.
  8. Repair a broken sauce. If liquid appears, your toum has separated. There are several ways to fix it, though none are guaranteed:
    • Stop adding ingredients and let your machine process it back into a smooth paste. This may work if you were pouring ingredients too quickly.
    • Scoop out half the sauce, add another egg white, blend until smooth, then blend in the other half.
    • Add an ice cube. Heat can cause a sauce to break apart, but you may need to add more oil to compensate for the extra water.
  9. Serve as a dip or sauce. In Lebanon and surrounding regions, people often eat toum on pita bread or on chicken shawarma. It also tastes great on kebabs, garlic bread, or mixed into any soup or salad dressing that calls for garlic.
  10. Use within three days. Several outbreaks of botulism, a potentially fatal disease, have been linked to garlic stored in oil. The bacteria that causes botulism can reproduce even in the refrigerator and does not cause any obvious changes in the paste's taste or appearance. This paste is safe to eat within three days. After that, freeze or throw away the leftovers.
    • Store the garlic paste in the coldest part of your fridge, near the back. This slows down the development of botulinum bacteria, and protects against other sources of spoilage. Use an airtight container.
    • Freeze in airtight containers with 1–2 inches (2.5–5cm) of head space to allow for expansion.


Two-Ingredient Garlic Paste

  • Garlic cloves
  • Pinch of coarse salt

Lebanese Garlic Paste-Toum

  • ~30 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ~4 cups (960mL) canola oil, corn oil, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg white (optional)


  • If you have an immersion blender (stick blender), there's a trick you can use to make your toum in a couple minutes. Put all ingredients into a deep cup, adding the oil last. Stick the immersion blender down into the base of the cup, then turn it on. Raise the immersion blender gradually as the paste forms below, and it will pull oil down into the garlic.
  • If you are having trouble achieving a thick sauce that holds together, dissolve cornstarch in water and heat until it thickens, whisking constantly. Let cool to room temperature before adding to the garlic paste. 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch and ¾ cup (180 mL) water is enough for up to 5 cloves of garlic.
  • Many cooks tell you to keep all your equipment completely dry to avoid breaking the sauce, but this is overstated. Garlic itself is about 65% water, so another drop of moisture won't make much difference.

Things You'll Need

Simple Paste

  • Sharp chef's knife
  • Cutting board


  • Blender or food processor
  • Rubber spatula
  • Two metal bowls the same size (optional)
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