“Za’atar is both an herb, called za’atar akdar, and a spice blend that is used as a condiment,” Fallous said. The herb za’atar is also called wild thyme or Syrian oregano and is often used in za’atar the spice blend. In this article, we are focusing on the spice blend.
“There are many different varieties depending where in the Arab world you have it,” Bishara said. “The ratios change, but it’s usually a mix of dried oregano and/or thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac.” Sometimes cumin, coriander, and anise are used as well. And in some parts of the Middle East, the mix is brightened with lemon zest.
“Za’atarZa’atar is native to the Middle East and has been made for centuries. The word za’atar means a mix of any dried plants. Before it was considered an ingredient, it was used in medicine. Hippocrates would treat the common cold with za’atar in the fifth century BCE.
“Za’atar is said to be good for the brain,” Fallous said. “When we were kids, our parents would always prepare breakfast that included za’atar, especially on exam days.”
The flavor of za’atar can vary based on the proportions of the blend. But most za’atar mixes that come in a dried form are herby, nutty, zesty, and crunchy.
Thanks to GD Cheatham