Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Zaatar (also spelt; zata, zatar, za'atar, zahtar, zaatah, zarter, but all said in the same way [zaa-ta]) is the Arabic name for a spice mixture of dried, crushed wild thyme (a.k.a. mountain oregano), sumac {see wgaw: SUMAC}, toasted sesame seeds and salt.

How to use Zaatar
In my experience zaatar is most often used as a spread for bread. It is mixed with olive oil [zeit zay-toon] and the resulting paste is then spread over a piece of lebanese bread [KHo-bis] or toast and then baked in the oven.  This works for vegetarian and vegan guests really well.

After cooking it is known as, 'fatayer bi zaatar' [fat'-tay-yerr bil zaa-ta] and/or mana'eesh [maa-na-aysh] and is simply gorgeous. The salt mixes into the herbs and the sesame seeds give it a little bit of a crunch. Fabulous for late, weekend breakfasts.

You can also cover small squares of flaky pastry in zaatar and cook them in the oven (so simple and so impressive: remove flaky pastry squares from freezer, defrost, cut each square into 4 smaller pieces, put on tray, sprinkle on zaatar, cook for approx. 10 mins)

In the week it's possible to buy just-cooked zaatar croissants from many of the large supermarkets and they sell them as hot, to-die-for, mid-morning snacks.

Zaatar can also be used to cover small pieces of white feta cheese (great with salads)

and also tomatoes. Finally, zaatar is also added to natural yougurts ~not my favourite~ and can be sprinkled over fried eggs ~a very Arabic taste~

More Information
I really liked this posting by Mercedes in Damascas: WHAT IS ZA'ATAR?


Sacrifice4Allah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sacrifice4Allah said...

As Salaamu 'alaikum,

I tried Zaatar whilst working with Palestinians who were mad on the stuff. I had it twice and both times it was delicious MashaAllah!

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikom,
Whenever my MIL visits, she bakes up a huge batch (that is exhausted by the following day anyway!) I never thought to try it on cheese though. *drool*