From the category “wonderful things I never knew existed”, today I present to you za’atar. Za’atar is a spice from the Middle East which made its way to me because Dan Cherecheș gave it to me the last time I was in Baia Mare. I liked it and I was curious, so I did a bit of research and this is what I learned:
Za’atar is the name of a family of aromatic herbs which include sweet marjoram, oregano, thyme and other plants with similar flavors. At the same time, it defines the blend of these dried herbs (all or some of them) with dried sumac, salt, perhaps pepper and occasionally lemon juice and slightly roasted sesame seeds. The best part is that you don’t have to go all the way to Jordan to get za’atar, because you can make your own version at home. Use a teaspoon of oregano, one teaspoon of sweet marjoram, half a teaspoon of basil, half a teaspoon of thyme, one tablespoon of sesame seeds roasted in a non-stick skillet with a teaspoon of salt (drizzle the juice from half a lemon in the skillet) and a pinch of sumac (you can find it in any supermarket). Why should you bother? Because za’atar is great with hummus, with bean mousse, with bean stew, cream cheese or with eggplant salad. Not to mention it’s amazing on bread smeared with extra virgin olive or sunflower seed oil (from the country side).

If I were you, I would try. Perhaps you can find it already prepared, in Arabic stores. Stay healthy.


Special thanks to
Oana Bodnariuc, Authorized Translator

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