A day too cold to venture outside and lots of dried herbs around the kitchen necessitated creativity and the desire to make something wonderful. Za’atar was the result.
This wonderful old world North African spice mix is a jewel in my kitchen. It is used extensively across North Africa and the Middle East. Perfect for dips with a little olive oil and seasoning for everything from meats to baked vegetables, it adds a zesty tanginess. Oh, and did I mention the aroma? It is quite simply the scent of heaven. A rich, warm, comforting scent that will fill the space just by opening the lid. For me it evokes the same homely feeling that baking bread and nutmeg has in a home – the sense that something truly wonderful is occurring in the kitchen. It’ll make friends and family kick shoes off and hang around a while in the anticipation that they maybe able to taste something delicious.
1 heaped tbsp sesame seeds
4 heaped tbsp dried oregano
2 heaped tbsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp ground sumac
2 tsp sea salt
4 tsp toasted cumin seeds
How to make
Toast sesame and cumin separately in a pan on a high heat for a couple of minutes. Put all ingredients except sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar and grind until finely mixed. Add sesame seeds and mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe ideas: Baked Za’atar Eggplant Wedges
Cut eggplant into wedges and place on a wire rack. Mix around 1/2 cup of flour (try buckwheat flour for gluten free alternative) with 2 eggs in a bowl. In another dish mix Za’atar, cayenne pepper and breadcrumbs. Dip the eggplant into the batter mixture and then into the Za’atar breadcrumb spice mix. Place on the wire try and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and crispy. Create a dip of Za’atar and olive oil to drizzle. Salivate then eat! Enjoy.x.
See how to grow Oregano here.
(A “shout out” to my fellow blogger Zeina at Poem & Dish who I think of everytime I use Za’atar, check out her lovely blog filled with delicious Middle Eastern recipes)