I always find ancient rituals and practises so fascinating. Those special kind of recipes that have been handed down through the centuries... little traditions started by our ancestors so long ago.
Za'atar is one of those special traditions that traces far back in Middle Eastern cuisine. I'm sure that every country and family have their own unique version of this spice mix - that's one of the things we love about it. But mainly, it's the flavour that we're obsessed with. This beautiful blend of herbs, sesame seeds and sumac is incredible sprinkled on top of so many dishes. It adds an extra twist of flavour and colour to even the simplest of meals - perfect for when you don't have much time. Try it on hummus, salad, soup, roasted vegetables or with olive oil as a dressing... there are endless possibilities for this tasty tradition!
Confusingly, Za'atar is also the name of a wild herb found in the Middle East, with a flavour somewhat similar to thyme. This is just a recipe for the spice mix, and doesn't require you to buy the wild herb!
If you aren't familiar with sumac, then we really recommend buying some. This ruby-red spice comes from a type of berry that grows in the mediterranean and middle east. It has a tangy, lemony flavour that tastes amazing and really enhances the za'atar mix.
6 teaspoons of sesame seeds
4 teaspoons of sumac
4 teaspoons of oregano*
4 teaspoons of thyme*
a pinch of sea salt
*It's possible to use dried or fresh herbs, however you may find the mix lasts slightly longer using dried.
1. In a small pan, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. We like our za'atar to have more texture, so we just mix it together with a spoon...If you want a finer powder, feel free to grind the ingredients together using a pestle & mortar/processor.
3. Once combined, place your mix in a jar and it's now ready to use! Store in a cool place and enjoy on your meals.
Have you ever tried za'atar?