Product of the week –Za’atar (blend)

Za'atar spice blend

We have liked Za’atar for a while but it is a bit of a trend at the moment thanks to chefs such Yotam Ottolenghi, Mourad Lahlou and Silvena Rowe. In Morocco, Za’atar is a herb which apparently looks like thyme but tastes a bit like oregano.  In the Middle East it is a blend of herbs often including thyme with sesame seeds and sumac (a red sour seasoning made from sumac berries). We like the Turkish sumac available in the International Supermarket and it is great on chicken instead of lemon. We served the Za’atar blend with olive oil to accompany our Moroccan bread at our Supperclub, it went down a storm and Maghreb on Hoe Street, Walthamstow is doing a roaring trade!

To make the Za’atar blend:  (makes about 6 tablespoons)

2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp sumac
4 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp dried thyme
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp sea salt

Toast the sesame seeds for 2 minutes in a dry frying pan, stirring to ensure they don’t stick or burn. Or buy toasted ones if you can get them.  Add them to a blender with the other herbs and salt, and quickly whizz all the ingredients together. Stored in an air tight jar the mix will stay fresh for at least a month or two.

We really like to use it as a seasoning rub on roast chicken, it gives it a fresh lemony-herb flavour which goes down well for Sunday lunch:

Za'atar chicken

You can use Za’atar in many ways but here are our other favourites:

  • Simply mix with olive oil and eat with fresh bread
  • Mix into yoghurt as a dip with grilled meat
  • Add to olive oil in a salad dressing with feta or halloumi cheese
  • Add to fresh bread dough or savoury pastry with ½ tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sprinkled on top of hummus
  • Add to breadcrumbs and crushed nuts to make a vegetarian stuffing

About walthamstowfoodies

We have a passion for good food – bought locally, cooked simply and shared with friends in Walthamstow, London and beyond
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