Sunday, February 1, 2009


Sumac (also spelt: sumak, summak, sumach, tanner’s sumach, sommacco, zumaque and sammakis, but all pronounced in the same way [sue-mac]), is a flavouring used in cooking.

Photo of a sumac tree taken from THIS WEBSITE

The berries of the tree, rhus coriaria, are harvested just before they ripen and are then sundried and used whole, crushed or are ground into a coarse powder.

Photo of sumac berries taken from THIS BLOG

Sumac has a lemony, bitter taste which is also described as being tart, or sour and is mostly used to replace lemon juice, tamarind and vinegars. This little red-purple, mediterraian berry has been imported into the Gulf region for so long, it's almost a native flavour.

Using Sumac
Ground sumac is sprinkled over soups, grilled meat and kibbeh [kib-beh] and is also used in salads, mostly [faat-toosh], in the Gulf. It is one of the key ingredients in zaatar/zatar {see wgaw: ZAATAR} and also used in the Palestinian dish, musakhan [moo-saa-khan] (chicken sauteed in olive oil and then stuffed into pitta bread and toasted in the oven for 10 mins).

Sumac can also be used in western dishes. It really does enhance the flavour of fresh tomatoes or avocados, esp. when used in guacamole. It can also be added to a yoghurt dip.

Medicinal Uses
When mixed with water sumac is said to aid digestion and prevent diarrhoea, as well as relieving indigestion.


Anna said...

thanks for giving me the butterfly award!

i love sumac. i've been using it a lot over the past few weeks.

mistika said...

Never used sumac but I am going to buy some, I love everything sour and lemon like taste.
Thanks for the links as well!