Sumac is the fruit of a bushy shrub that is grown in the Middle East regions of Turkey and Iran and the Mediterranean region around Sicily. The fruit ripens in the form of conical clusters of berries that are sun dried and then crushed into a dark crimson/redish powder. In Middle Eastern cooking sumac is used as a souring agent (in place of lemon, tamarind or vinegar). Sumac is delicious on roast meat and in particular lamb, when mixed with paprika, pepper and oregano. The traditional herb/seed/spice mix Zaatar is a blend of sumac, thyme, toasted sesame seeds and salt. Zaatar or pure Sumac is sprinkled on flat breads with olive oil before toasting.
Uses and Ideas! ©
- Use to garnish bowls of Middle eastern dips like hummus or minted Labna (drained natural sheep’s yoghurt).
- Sprinkle over a Greek salad with oregano or mix in with raw sweet onion/cucumber salad to serve with kebabs.
- Make a simple Fattoush salad by combining diced tomato, cucumber, radish, spring onions, torn mint and parsley, crispy broken pieces of toasted pita bread. Make a dressing with sumac, lemon juice/zest, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the well mixed salad