This tangy, nutty, herbaceous Middle Eastern spice blend pairs well with just about everything. Photos: Linda Schneider
Tangy, nutty, herbaceousâ€”za’atar pairs well with many foods. But before we get into the details of how to use this dynamic and delicious spice blend, thereâ€™s some clarification needed for the word itself.
“Za’atar” is the Arabic word for thyme, and it’s used for both the name of a wild plant and the spice mixture itself. This can be confusing for some spice hunters. In addition to herbs, a standard za’atar blend includes roasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt. The ratio of these ingredients varies depending on the household and the region it’s inâ€”the blend is used throughout the Middle East in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. In fact, just as withÂ ras hanout, a Moroccan spice blend, or Indian curry blends, many families have a tightly guarded recipe for za’atar.