Za'atar a Middle Eastern Spice 1 tsp per serving

Za'atar a Middle Eastern Spice 1 tsp per serving
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Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 46
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 10.3
  • Total Fat: 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 86.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 0.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Za'atar a Middle Eastern Spice 1 tsp per serving calories by ingredient
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The original recipe is from:
The original recipe is from:

Number of Servings: 46


    ¼-½ cup toasted sesame seeds, ground coarsely (the original recipe recommends unhulled…if unavailable use hulled sesame seeds)*
    2 teaspoons of Sumac or sumaq, ground or ½-tablespoons sumac berries, crushed, if available (see Middle Eastern deli's; substitutions for ground Sumac are lemon zest or lemon juice or vinegar + sea salt)*
    2 teaspoons oregano
    2 teaspoons basil
    2½ tablespoons ground thyme
    2 teaspoons savory
    2½ teaspoons ground marjoram
    1½-teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
    2 tablespoon dried ground lemon peel or zest of two lemons, very finely minced

    *Lightly roasting the whole spices in a dry hot frying pan before grinding gives the very best flavor. Heat the whole spices 3 to 5 minutes, until the scent releases, then cool on a plate.


Makes about 46 teaspoons of Arabian Spice or Bahrat or Ras-el Hanout or Yemeni Blend or Ethiopian Berbere HOT or Moroccan Rub or Zahtar.

1. Ideally, this is a little coarse. First, roast then grind the sesame seeds and crush the sumac separately.
2. Then crush everything together with a pestle or the back of a spoon, or put it into a zipper plastic baggie, press out the air, seal, and roll over it with a rolling pin or the side of a quart jar until the desired mix and texture is achieved.
3. While it is fresh, dampen with a few tablespoons with olive oil, and add some hummus or crushed chickpeas if you like, to make "dukkah".
4. Spread on pita or flatbread, and bake or broil until hot through. Alternatively, work some into the top of fresh bread dough before baking.

For green zahtar variation: Omit sumac and replace with ground and whole thyme or marjoram, fenugreek leaf (exotic flavor) or dried parsley.

AKA za'atar, predominately ground sumac, roasted sesame seeds, and green herbs, Zahtar is used to flavor meats and vegetables, or mixed with olive oil and used as a marinade for olives or as a spread for pita or flatbread- a tangy, slightly sour Middle Eastern replacement for a PBJ! The taste of a za'atar mixture can be herbal, nutty, or toasty.

Za'atar is both a family of herbs and an herb, Thymbra spicata, with a slight minty tendency, in the marjoram/oregano family. Some are salty flavored and quite rare, some are lemony. Za'atar is NOT sumac. What is sold commercially is often blended with sumac and lightly toasted sesame seeds, but the base of the za'atar blend is a za’atar herb.

Marjoram is much milder than the oregano we usually find; Western blends usually use it along with oregano and thyme.

In the East, thyme is "Zaatar romi"(roman zaatar), and oregano is "Zaatar ach'dar"(green za'atar) and so forth. Zaatar can also be the name of hyssop or a varied mixture of herbs. The commercial blends often contain three kinds of zaatar and sumac.

From Morocco to Pakistan, a wide variety of spice blends creates the regional flavors of the Middle Eastern cuisine. Rubbed into meat before stewing, sautéed with vegetables, sprinkled over fish before broiling, these mixes permeate the cuisine.
"Baharat" or "Bahrat" is a Persian name for a group of mixes, any of which may traditionally contain 4, 7, or 9 spices. Families have personal favorites, which are made the same year after year and become the essence of "home cooking". Many families have private recipes for their blends. After enjoying Mama Hameeda's Kuwaiti spice and stuffing spice for months, I began collecting and mixing spice blend recipes. Here are a few of the best.

When preparing these blends, measuring is only a suggestion, because the spices themselves can vary in intensity and flavor depending on how old they are or where they came from. Spice merchants create custom blends from herbs and spices freshly roasted and ground.
There are two ways to make these - with whole spices that you grind, or with ground spices. Whole spices give a more powerful flavor.

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