Favorite Middle Eastern Spices

MidEast SpicesAleppo Chili Pepper
Named after the region of Syria and perhaps the one of the most beautiful spices in existence. It has moderate heat and complex flavor. Aleppo pepper is often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. We get our coarsely-ground Aleppo at World Spice; Ballard Market currently carries only the ground powder form.
Aleppo in jar

Queen Anne Diet recipes using Aleppo: Confetti Meatballs, Beef and Lamb Chili with Toasted Eggplant.

MagicMeatballs_homepageEggplantChili

 

Sumac
Perhaps one of our very favorite spices with its lemony essence. We get ours in bulk at PCC Natural Markets or Ballard Market. At certain times of the year, it is available as part of a Middle-Eastern Spice 4 pack at Trader Joe’s. Culinary sumac is made from the berry that grown on shrubs or small trees in Turkey and throughout the Middle East. It is to be distinguished from the staghorn ornamental sumac we have in the United States, or the poisonous variety of sumac with white berries which also grows here. Buy your sumac at the grocery store or spice market.
Sumac in Jar.jpg

Queen Anne Diet recipe using sumac: 45 Minute Roasted Sumac Chicken. 
SumacChicken_redo

Za’atar
Za’atar is the name given to a native Middle Eastern herb with a musky scent similar to oregano, thyme, or savory and may be the hyssop referred to in the Bible. It is prevalent in  Middle Eastern cuisines and its distinctive flavor has been described as both sharp and warm.
Zaatar.jpg

Za’atar also can refer to a blend of spices which typically includes the dried “hyssop,” sumac, sesame seeds, and salt– regional variations exist. It is commonly eaten with pita or mixed with olive oil and spread on a flatbread and baked. Za’atar is delicious sprinkled on chicken as we do on our Paillard Chicken.
Chicken Pillard new cooked
Isreali Za’atar, from World Spice in Seattle has more of the green herb “hyssop” mixture and less sumac than the Syrian Za’atar. It is our favorite.

Syrian Za’atar has a redder color than the Israeli Za’atar, because of the increased sumac. Both blends were created by World Spice Merchants in Pike Place Market at 1509 Western Avenue. Their extensive spice collection is also available online and is one of the finest in the country. All their spices are certified gluten free. Some lesser expensive Za’atar blends sold at touristy shops may contain wheat. Read the labels.
Chicken Paillard 3

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