A Delicious Ancient Seasoning From The Middle-East
Yep! That's me folks, riding the streets of Cairo on a rented Camel Circa 1978
Zaatar is a very ancient blend of herbs that dates back thousands of years in the middle east. I find it absolutely Delicious on chicken in salads and vegetables cooked and raw. My favorite way to eat zaatar is the traditional Pita type breads dipped in a good olive oil and dunked into a pile of the zaatar herb.
My first introduction to this ancient Zaatar blend dates back to my Navy days walking the streets of Alexandria and Cairo Egypt. The numerous street vendors bellowed the delicious enchanting aroma of this ancient spice blend with their many offerings of native foods prepared with this staple blend of the Arab world. Through the years when I ran across Zaatar blends available here in the States, I always thought... Hum..
this isn't the flavor that I remember.
Well I finally found it!
After 40 years I finally learned Zaatar is not only the name of the spice blend but it is also the name of the herb that it is suppose to be made with. Most all Zaatar here in the States have substituted real Zaatar herb ( a wild growing thyme), with common thyme or even oregano because real Zaatar herb is more expensive. Well profit city ruined the blend again and it makes HUGE difference in the taste.
Why call it Zaatar if the real herb isn't even in it!!
The actual Zaatar plant grows wild in the much of the middle East, it has many variations of the name. the plant looks much like oregano but the chemical make up of the flavor is very different then common oregano and thyme. The plant is called Hyssop in Biblical writings even though Scholars have concluded the translation was in era. Most all Zaatar blends that don't include the actual Zaatar plant as it's base herb lacks drastically in imitating the flavor of authentic Mideast Zaatar blends, and often is made with fillers and a huge variety of substitutes that just don't get close to the flavors of the authentic blend.
Sumac berry's is also an important part of the blend that balances out the bitter flavor of the Zaatar with the lightly sweet berry flavor with citrus overtones. The sesame seeds ads a nice little nutty crunch that is a perfect compliment to the herbs and the salt of course does that salty thing that keeps you wanting more. There are many different blends used throughout the Arab world which could include several other herbs to the blend. The blend that we purvey is the ancient standard blend that has became to be known as the Royal blend. Our Zaatar herbs are authentic in every way, all the herbs in our mix, our grown organically by a family farm in Lebanon. (See Zaatar Article Below To Meet The Actual Grower of our Zaatar blend)
When This mixture spread on a dough base and baked as a bread, produces manakeesh bi zaatar.
In the Middle East, ka'ak (a soft sesame seed bread, known as ka'akh in Hebrew), is sold in bakeries and by street vendors with zaatar to dip into or with a zaatar filling.
We will Be Posting many Zaatar Recipes For our first offering click below.