A few years ago, we were travelling through Kalamazoo, en route to Toronto. It was the first of our site scouting trips to prepare for our upcoming move back to Canada, and my husband wanted to stop by his favourite brewery – Bell’s – on the trip. We stopped for lunch at a random shawarma place, and my world was ROCKED.
I have no idea how I’d never tried toum before then. It was this thick white dip that they served alongside their grape leaves… SUPER potent with garlic – it burned to eat! – and was absolutely addictive. I wanted to put it on everything! We cleaned our plates, bought some more to go, and made a point of stopping off at that same restaurant on subsequent trips between Minnesota and Ontario.
The thing is, it wasn’t listed as “toum” on the menu. They just called it their house garlic sauce – or something similar – and I’d assumed it to be a unique thing. It wasn’t til one of my facebook friends mentioned “garlic dip” alongside “toum”, that I googled and found my long lost love, LOL. Not only did it mean I had a name of an item to look for / ask for when dining out, I found that it was something that is very easy to make at home. I put that knowledge aside for the time being.
Recently, I’ve had to adopt the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, as a result of some thyroid weirdness. The next 6 months mean a very strict diet that cuts out a lot of fun stuff – nightshades, grains, dairy, seeds, nuts, sugar, etc. It’s not that big a deal for me – I cook, I can make any diet taste great! – but it does sting a little, now that we’ve moved to Hamilton. You see, there is a shawarma place pretty much on every block here, and we were definitely getting into trying as many as we could, before this change of dietary direction. Amazing stuff, as far as the eye can see!
This past weekend, I was really, REALLY wanting some shawarma… so I came up with an AIP version. I’ll be blogging that shortly, but wanted to post components of it, first.
Now, you don’t have to be on AIP to go for AIP shawarma. It’s an excellent dish on its own (“I want 6 more of these, right now… but I am FULL, AUGH!” – my non-AIP husband, when I made shawarma wraps from the leftovers), and it’s a great option when dealing with a number of dietary restrictions. It’s nightshade free, so safe for the many people who have that allergy. It’s gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, and avoid all of the most common allergens. If you’re cooking for a group that involves some people with dietary restrictions, it’s a good place to start!
So, first part of that: Toum.
This is every bit the burny, addictive, wildly satisfying garlic condiment that we had in Kalamazoo. A simple change of oils used takes it from not being AIP safe, to AIP all the way – with no change in the taste. This is exactly the sort of thing that any number of articles warn you to not eat before a date, for some reason. So bizarre. IMHO, if you’re dating someone afraid of garlic breath … you need to reconsider your standards. Accept no less than someone that who will fight you for the last bit of garlic deliciousness left on the plate!
This is super easy to make – with a food processor – and requires fairly basic ingredients.
A word on the garlic used: I’m lazy, and buy garlic cloves that have been pre-peeled by the produce department at my local grocery store. (For $2.50 for about a cup worth of garlic, it’s not worth it to peel them myself, IMHO!). I haven’t tried this with the mass produced pre-peeled garlic, but would assume that to be almost as good, just not as fresh. I would NOT recommend using pre-minced garlic, as that always tastes bitter and weird.
I use a very light olive oil for this, so the flavour doesn’t compete with the garlic too much. You could, alternatively, use all avocado oil, instead of the mix. If you don’t need to follow AIP diet restrictions, feel free to save a few bucks by using canola oil instead.
With regards to oil amounts: as listed, this will give you a nice, thick dip. If you’re looking for a bit thinner, you can continue to add more oil – about 3 cups total will give you more of a sauce consistency, rather than the dip.
Enjoy! Also: Keep an eye out for the coming recipes – AIP quick beet pickles, chicken shawarma, and more! Follow us on any of our social media accounts for updates, or subscribe to our newsletter for monthly emails!
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