Za'atar, named after its traditional main ingredient, the Syrian marjoram, is a spice mixture made from green herbs, sumac and sesame seeds. The original mixture would have been just a combination of Syrian marjoram, sesame seeds and salt.
The word za'atar is not only the name of the mixture, but also of a group of herbs: savory, wild basil-thyme, thyme and the herbs of the oregano genus, including marjoram and oregano. So it is not surprising that many za'atars these days contain oregano, thyme and marjoram, all three after all za'atars.
In the Middle Ages, za'atar (with sumac) was used as a medicine, as was the case with many herbs, spices and mixtures. For example, it was used for colds.
Za'atar is often provided with its own signature, and is therefore available in all conceivable variations on the market. The closest to the original recipe is 'green za'atar', but usually too little sesame seed has been added, leaving the taste somewhat flat; the ratio of spices to sesame should be about 4:1. Sumac has been added to 'red' za'atar, just like in the medieval medicine. Our za'atar is of the latter type, but contains no salt. The advantage of this is that adding za'atar does not affect the salt content of the dish, so you can add salt as needed.
Za'atar, like bahārāt, is a widespread Arabic spice mixture, used as a rub or marinade (mixed with olive oil) for the preparation of beef, lamb, chicken or fish, as a sprinkle on hummus, yogurt, labneh or baba ganoush! Also delicious over baked potatoes. Remember that the green herbs are not hard, like rosemary, and can burn if you fry them with the potatoes (see tip below).
Smell and taste
Za'atar is very fragrant. Because the sesame seeds have already been roasted, you can prepare it as a 'raw' sprinkle. To bring out the aromas of za'atar even better, you can warm the za'atar in some butter (do not roast or fry!).
- this (red) za'atar contains: thyme, black cumin (Bunium persicum), coriander (leaf), sesame, sumac (Rhus coriaria) and Syrian marjoram (Majorana syriaca)
- origin: Middle East, Persian cuisine (Iran)
- this za'atar has been carefully compiled in the United Kingdom
- the mixture contains sesame, and may contain traces of celery and mustard
- available in glass and stand-up pouch (no test tubes)
- glass jar contains 60 grams
- stand-up pouches with a capacity of up to 30 to 250 grams
- larger quantities on request
- the jar is available in a tasteful gift packaging, consisting of a cube box filled with black tissue paper
- for an overview of our gift packaging, please refer to the gift packaging section
- store za'atar in a dark, dry and cool place
- keep your za'atar in sealed packaging
- preferably store in a dark, dry and cool place
- best before November 2024 (11/24)
- this expiration date is an indication