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Jul 16, 2005 10:07 AM

Served "mystery sauce" at Egyptian restaurant

  • m

I had the most intriguing "mystery sauce" last night at a very unpretentious local Egyptian restaurant. It was pure white and extremely creamy, and the proprietress challenged each table to identify it, warning that there was no cream or yogurt in it. Tasting it, the overwhelming flavor was garlic, but in appearance the only thing I could think of was the silkiness of homemade marshmallows (if you haven't made them, that's another post!).

I finally realized it was olive oil, and the proprietress confirmed it - olive oil, garlic and lemon whirled in a blender for 45 minutes! But there is another ingredient, which she wouldn't reveal.

It's been on my mind ever since. The sauce was perfectly stable - it didn't change throughout the meal. Do you think the "secret ingredient" adds stability, or could the olive oil and garlic stand up on its own? I'm thinking gelatin (but nothing hot to dissolve it in) or pectin.

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    1. re: Candy

      The egg white would cause the oil to emulsify, and in essence it would become a thin mayonnaise.

      1. re: Candy

        egg white was my first guess - no eggs.

      2. What's the restaurant? And where is it? Perhaps a local chowhounder can investigate.

        1. Potato? Sounds a little like Zankou garlic sauce.

          1. Your question completely reminded me of a question someone had on the General Topics board about a mystery "Middle Eastern dip" (that's the title of the thread if you want to do a Ctrl-F page search on the GT board).

            Someone responded that it was "toum," a Lebanese dip. You can google for plenty of recipes. Of course, there are many variations, but I found one recipe that had an interesting secret ingredient...potato. See link for that recipe below. Egg yolk also appeared in some recipes.


            1. Salt?

              They make the same sauce at the Lebanese Taverna in the Washington DC metro area, and there's nothing in it but garlic, oil (not olive, or at least nothing with a strong olive flavor), lemon juice and salt, but it's fluffy, white, and has the consistency of home-made mayonnaise that keeps for a long time in the fridge.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ilaine

                The sauce I am thinking of is called "toum". Some recipes use a little potato but most just use garlic, oil, salt, and lemon juice.

                I admit I never made it, just buy it by the tub at the Lebanese Taverna market. Yum!

                1. re: Ilaine

                  Boy, do I miss the Lebanese Taverna. I dream about their fateh bel djaje. Had many great meals there, followed by coffees and arak of course.