Mediterranean (Lebanese?) Garlic Paste for gyros?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    There's a lebanese restaurant I go to once in a while that serves their gyors meats with a little cup of garlic paste that's absolutely DELICIOUS. 

    I have tried recreating it at home without much success. 

    I have looked for recipes online but all the recipes I find contain a LOT of oil and look more like an aioli recipe to me (mashed garlic with lemon juice and salt, slowly drizzle olive oil as you emulsify). The garlic paste they serve at the restaurant is nothing like aioli and I don't think it has any oil, or at least definitely not in those quantities. 

    I have tried pureeing raw garlic with a bit of salt, but the taste of garlic is too strong. 

    I have tried putting the garlic cloves in cold water and bringing it to a boil before mashing them, but then the taste of garlic is pretty much gone. 

    Any idea before I go back and press the owner for his recipe (which he may not want to share)? 
     
  2. castironcookie

    castironcookie

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    puree garbanzo beans with garlic .....

    I'll bet that will give you the consistency of paste you're looking for .... add lemon, salt, etc to taste
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Don't be afraid to ask for the recipe.  Or maybe be sneaky about it and just ask "what's in this sauce?"  And then take some sauce home with you to try to recreate it.  I'm never afraid to ask for a recipe, people are usually flattered.
     
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks castironcookie, but I'm sure there's no garbanzo beans. In fact I even tried adding a bit of mashed potato for texture and that got me even further from the taste I was looking for. 
     
    Oh I'm not afraid, and I'll ask, for sure. I think you're right maybe first I should just ask for the ingredients, see how he reacts, then ask for the recipe. 

    Koukouvagia, in Greece, do they serve Gyros with some sort of garlic paste? I had many gyros in Greece, but that was a long time ago and I don't remember any garlic paste - maybe just some tahini or tzatziki. 
     

    Thanks guys. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  5. thetincook

    thetincook

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    Use garlic, cooked potato, lemon juice, salt, olive oil.

    One of the countries, Greece I think, calls it skordalia.
     
  6. thetincook

    thetincook

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    Lebenese call it toum, but I think that usually implies egg yolks.

    Which restaurant did you go to? Zankou Chicken? Usually that's the place that's connected to garlic sauce around Los Angeles.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    We serve our gyros with tzatziki which is a sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and vinegar and perhaps some herbs like mint or dill.  I'm not familiar with the garlic paste you speak of.  However the emulsion you mentioned in your first post "mashed garlic with lemon juice and salt, slowly drizzle olive oil as you emulsify" I know quite well, it is the basis of a greek potato puree called skordalia.  But alas you said that's not it either.  So I can't help you it seems other than to encourage you to ask the Lebanese man what his sauce is.  Ask him for all of our sake /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smiles.gif
     
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks a lot for the input guys. I know it's neither skordalia nor toum - at least not according to the recipes I've found online. I know and love skordalia, as a dip for pita bread before the meal, but not as something to eat along with a meat skewer or sliced gyros. This garlic paste I'm talking about is the PERFECT accompaniment to grilled/roasted lamb, beef or chicken. 

    OK I hope I'll get more info from the restaurant. BTW no, it's not Zankou (I'm not a huge fan of Zankou), it's a tiny mom and pop restaurant - probably more like the very first Zankou was.
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Didn't we have a similar discussion a year or two back? I'm sure we did.

    Are you sure it's not toum? That's the quintessential Lebanese garlic sauce. It's usually toned down in American/Lebanese restaurants, because the true gelt is incredibly garlicy.

    Here, for instance, is Hussien Dekmak's recipe from his The Lebanese Cookbook:

    2 garlic heads, cloves peeled

    1 tsp salt

    1 egg white

    2 cups vegetable oil

    Juice of 2 lemons or more to taste

    Put the garlic cloves and salt in a blender or food processor and whiz to a smooth paste. Add the egg white and whiz again until smooth. With the motor running, very slowly pour in the vegetable oil in a constant, steady stream until all the oil is used up and the sauce is the consistency and color of mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and keep whizzing until smooth. Taste and add more if necessary. Serve.
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks KYH. I can't be sure it's not toum as I haven't asked yet and I only have discovered the name "toum" by googling for recipes the day I wrote that thread. 

    However I have trouble believing that the stuff I've been eating is anywhere close to those recipes I've read or the even the one you shared. I'll ask, and if it turns out to be it I'll have to have my palate checked. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  But it's not the consistency of mayo or aioli (which is what those recipes remind me of except for the addition of egg in yours). It's not the color of mayo either, it's rather white or light grayish, it's thicker and has more texture than mayo, doesn't have the faintest taste or texture of oil or any kind of fat... as for the garlicky flavor it's hard to describe, it's both incredibly garlicky and at the same time rounded off, which had me boil the garlic head before mashing it in an attempt to reproduce that flavor. 

    The more I think about it the more I think it might be just garlic, a dash of lemon juice maybe and a little salt. But I suppose the garlic has to have been partially cooked somehow, otherwise the garlic would taste much sharper than it does. I can't imagine what other ingredient might be in there, but I wouldn't guess oil -maybe egg white?

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer  


    Didn't we have a similar discussion a year or two back? I'm sure we did.

    Did we? I can't remember. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  11. french fries

    french fries

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  12. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I have the dutch translation of a book originally called ;

    Cuisine du Liban - written by Pomme Larmoyer. 2006 Marabout (Hachette Livre) - ISBN 978 90 5897 808 0

    There are 2 somewhat similar simple sauces, one made with labna (yoghurt), the other with labné (yoghurt leaked out).

    Labné bi toûm

    Labné is yoghurt -called labna in Libanon- that has leaked out overnight in a cheesecloth.

    The recipe; 3 cloves of garlic, 400 gr labné, 1 tbsp dried mint or a few fresh leaves chopped, olive oil, salt.

    Rub the garlic and salt in a mortar until it's a paste. Add 1 tbsp labné and mix. Now put that mixture in the remaining labné and mix. Sprinkle with the mint. add a good dash of olive oil.

    Labane bi khiyâr (some sort of tzaziki)

    Labna (yoghurt) is used in this recipe. The autor mentions how to make it yourself by using some Bulgarian yoghurt. It's basically what we know as a thick Greek yoghurt type I guess.

    The recipe; 2 cloves of garlic, 400 gr labna, half a cucumber, 1tbsp dried mint or chopped fresh leaves, salt

    Rub garlic and salt in a mortar, mix some labna in and then mix into the rest or the loosened labna.

    Add small deseeded cucumber in small cubes. Sprinkle with mint.

    Also, you may like this blog, it's in french and there's another recipe on this page with potato, lemon etc.; http://absolumentbon.canalblog.com/archives/cuisine_syrio_libanaise/index.html  
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    FrenchFries, most toum I've had is dead white, as you describe. And it's much different in texture than mayo---both thicker and lighter, if that makes sense. I know Dekmak uses that comparison, but I think it's just forto give people unfamiliar with the sauce an idea.  
     
  14. castironcookie

    castironcookie

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    >>>>>> it's rather white or light grayish, it's thicker and has more texture than mayo, doesn't have the faintest taste or texture of oil or any kind of fat

    my previous suggestion of garbanzo beans with some lemon and salt along with pureed garlic will give you a pretty keen paste, one I use all the time ... BUT I understand it isn't the one you're seeking .... you might even try pureed cooked soy beans

    labna drained for a couple of days will give you a consistency and perhaps a taste close to what you're trying to find

    or you might try the same thing with sour cream (drain with cheesecloth)

    I suspect that when you do find the recipe for the paste that it will be fairly simple and please relay it to us .....
     
  15. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks all of you. That gives me many different ideas to try now. Looks like I'm going to be eating garlic paste for days to come. Stand back! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  16. the-boy-nurse

    the-boy-nurse

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    We did indeed (it's what turned me on to this forum) here's the link. I found BDL's recipe for skordalia to be the winner (for me). Give it overnight in the fridge to "set up" the potatoes take on the garlic flavor, spreading it without killing it. Use 1 whole head of garlic and don't omit the vinegar.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  17. french fries

    french fries

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    ALRIGHT so I finally went back and asked. It's simply garlic processed in a food processor with canola oil. I don't have quantities so I'll have to experiment. Right as I was about to leave the restaurant he also gave me a little tip: add a few ice cubes in the FP to make the sauce lighter. 

    I have yet to try it. 
     
  18. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    FF, please let us know how it turns out. I see it  being sold in the stores but the prices are outrageous, its  like shopping at Harrod's .

    It is just garlic & oil. Don't you need to put an acid in that to stop it from discoloring ?

    Petals.
     
  19. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    When I worked in a Lebanese restaurant years ago, their garlic paste was simply labna, (drained, concentrated yogurt--a mild Middle Eastern brand) lots of minced raw garlic and salt.
     
  20. french fries

    french fries

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    Well he didn't mention any other ingredient and I'm fairly sure he would have mentioned something like lemon juice... the paste is absolutely perfectly white. I'll let you know when I give it a try.