Za'atar: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

Za'atar: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

What is Za'atar?

Known for its wild, mint-related flavor, Za'atar is a pillar of Levantine cooking, similar to oregano and marjoram. The word Za'atar or Zaahtar comes from Arabic and refers both to the Za'atar herb spice mixture and the herb itself. The Za'atar spice mix is usually made from the Za'atar herb, sumac, roasted sesame seeds,, and a pinch of salt.

A Za'atar mix with genuine and top-shelf quality ingredients can be difficult to obtain and is often more expensive. Therefore, it is common for commercial brands to substitute the ingredients to mimic the traditional taste of Za'atar. Furthermore, there are different variations in recipes based on what region a household is from, leading to different mixes and tastes. For example, some za'atar recipes contain dried dill, sumac berries, marjoram, dried orange zest, hyssop, or caraway seeds.


How is Za'atar used?

There are endless ways that you can use the Za'atar mix because of its aromatic and zesty nature. It is also a very versatile condiment and you can therefore use it like any other spice to season poultry, steak, lamb, or even vegetables. For example, you can make Za'atar lamb chops, Za'atar cauliflower steak, Za'atar rice and even Za'atar popcorn. However, the traditional way Za'atar is used is often mixed with olive oil and baked into flatbread called "Manakish" or "Manaeesh".


How we use Za'atar

At Sarkis Pastry, we use Za'atar to make Za'atar Manakish on saj bread filled with olives, tomatoes and mint leaves. You can also enjoy our Za'atar Manakish by adding cheese or Labne (kefir cheese). 


In addition, we bake mini Za'atar pizzas daily. The mini pizzas are either plain za'atar or with tomatoes and onions. Both of these items are available in store and for online delivery!

If you have any questions or concerns on how to order Za'atar Pizzas and Manakish, just give us a call and one of our sales representatives will be happy to assist you.

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