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Jun 8, 2010 07:30 PM

Za'atar with sumac

I tried a few places in Pointe Claire and none. Anyone know where there is a good turnover of this so not too stale

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  1. Have you tried Adonis?

    Not sure the precise makeup of their za'atar but my guess is that their turnover is high.

    1. If you're in the NDG area sometime, drop by Akhavan on Sherbrooke. They even have a house brand.

      1. I get mine from the architecture cafe at McGill. Probably little help as it's closed for the summer. They buy them fresh from a local middle eastern bakery. I will ask them where next time I get one (in sept!). There is a new flat bread place that opened in the food court below Simons. It looks good, haven't tried it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: The Chemist

          Oops! I thought you meant the bread, not the spice.

          You can get a huge bag at Lobo. I started putting it on everything just to go through it all.

        2. There is something very depressing about seeing za'atar in HUGE bags....even if it was fresh when you bought it, it won't be when you finish it!

          Basically, my way around it was to buy FRESH za'atar at Adonis (often called Lebanese thyme or "oregano"- it looks more like oregano) in the vegetable section, hang it to dry at home for around a week, and give it a whirl in the blender. Then I added salt, sumac and sesame seeds to taste.

          1. At Jean Talon Market, there is a spice store on the East side, (H-Julien St. ) not far from the entrance to the underground parking...sorry do not know the store name. They have it in small bags with sesame seeds in it, not sure if it includes sumac. I am sure someone else on the board will know the name of the shop they carry all sorts of spices and spice mixes. Not very close to NDG but I know they carry it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: southwestmtl

              You're probably thinking of Olives et Épices. Their zaatar container lists the following ingredients: spices, sesame, salt (i.e. not much help). There's a sour-acid component to the flavour profile, though, so I suspect it's got sumac in it. Further supporting that conclusion is the fact that all three of the zaatar recipes in their cookbook ("La cuisine et le goût des épices") include sumac.

              1. re: carswell

                I guess they would be listing sumac and oregano as "spices". You cannot really make zaatar without sumac.

                Other than the four necessary and sufficiant ingredients listed above, I have seen a couple of zaatar mixes (and a jeopardy question) that also contain ground chickpeas. But i think that would have more of a filler function.

                1. re: hala

                  I think that the chickpeas are for a different kind of "Za'atar", which I have seen called "red" za'atar in the middle east. It is a reddish brown colour and contains none of the actual herb za'atar, but it just a spice blend with roast chick peas as it's base that is used the same way as za'atar on breads etc.

                  1. re: karela

                    I have never heard of this "red" zaatar, what else does it have in it? And more importantly, does it taste good?

                    1. re: hala

                      A few google searches did nothing to clarify this - most likely because I don't have any more specific words to go on other than "red" and "za'atar".

                      If memory serves correct, it also has roasted wheat berries in it (and sesame seeds)....If you have ever had an Indian chutney podi (powder) it is similar in taste to that.

                      It tastes VERY good, rich and nutty, not at all herbal, which is no surprise since there wouldn't be any za'atar in it. I think it was called za'atar (or that people told me it was called za'atar) because its function is the same as powdered za'atar. It was very much a specialty thing, sold only by the most local, old-timey stores, and a lot of people would have no idea what I was looking for when I asked about it.

                      The other thing about it was that it did not have a very long shelf life, after about a month it would lose its colour, become plain brown and also lose it's flavour.

                      I have no idea where you would find it here, Lebanese stores would be my guess, but because of the freshness issue, I would try to find it where you can buy a small, non pre-packaged quantity. Or, better yet, find some one who actually knows what it is and get the recipe!!