Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Zatar, Za’atar, Zahtar

What is this, you ask?

Zatar is a spice blend, commonly used in Middle Eastern or North African cuisine. It is used on meats, and vegetables, or can be blended with olive oil to use as a spread on pita bread, or as a dip.

Commercially prepared Zatar can be purchased in Middle Eastern stores- or try making the mixture yourself.


Zatar Mix:

1 cup ground sumac**
2 cups roasted, ground sesame seeds
½ cup ground thyme
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. dried marjoram
2 Tbsp. dried leaf savory - or ground savory ***
Salt to taste, optional
Mix all ingredients -except the salt- together.
Store in a tightly covered container.


**Sumac: a fruity-tart spice, sold ground, powdered or in the whole dried berry form. The powdered form usually has salt in it. It complements fish, meats, and vegetables, and is sold in Middle Eastern stores.

***Savory: comes in 2 types. Summer and winter. Summer savory is milder in taste than the winter variety, but both are pretty strong in taste, so use sparingly. It’s flavor is a cross between thyme and mint. Savory is used in soups, stews, on meat, fish, and bean dishes.

4 comments:

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  2. In Lebanon, where I was born, there is also a variant of zahtar made by Moslem Lebanese, as well as Syrians. In this version, the proportion of oregano, thyme, savory, and marjoram is reduced. In its place, they add cumin, paprika, and very roughly chopped pistachios. The zahtar comes out looking brownish. I don't like it so much but others do.

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  3. I would like to add, that there are different versions of Armenian home made zaatars. Musadaghians call it CMMAOON. it's better then the classic zaatar, more delicious & full of with different tastes.

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  4. I decided to buy the frozen bread loaves from the market. But this time i bought the frozen rolls. I defrosted it in the refrigerator. I then let them sit on my counter for a few hours and the dough doubled if no tripled in size. With a mixture of oil and Zataar.I made a quick individual Zataar bread. The secret to the dough is do NOT use a rolling pin. Use your hands only to flattened and spread out the dough. The aroma alone is worth it. Serve with hot tea (I love a blend of earl grey tea)

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