How many calories in Zaatar Manakeesh

Za’atar (also Zaatar, Zahtar or Zatar) - you shouldn't miss this spice

Za’atar (also Zaatar, Zahtar or Zatar) is a spice blend from the Middle East that has what it takes to be addicting. The name itself is exotic. And a little pinch of it will keep every dish from being boring. The aroma is difficult to describe. I'll try woody, citrusy and herbaceous. Somehow that doesn't help either. One thing is for sure, you will have an incredibly delicious taste experience.

One of my cooking idols, the British-Israeli chef and author of great cookbooks, Ottolenghi has contributed a lot to making Za’atar better known in the West too. It has been an integral part of every kitchen in the Middle East and actually in the whole of the West for centuries.

Middle East, Middle East or Occident? What's what?

I often speak of dishes or ingredients from the Middle East. Is there a difference? It starts with the fact that in English 'Middle East' is more like the German 'Middle East'. But not quite. Then there are the terms Occident, Orient, Orient or the Middle East. The Middle East refers to the Arab countries as well as Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Iran and Iraq. According to the G8, parts of North Africa are also included (Mediterranean communities). The political conditions of the last centuries have created the many terms. But if we look at the eating culture, you can see that these countries have a lot in common. The same goes for the Zaatar spice mixture. And my dear friend Rosi, whose family comes from Syria, told me that Za’atar is an integral part of breakfast at your home, as in almost all Arab countries. But more on that later.

Which herbs are in Za’atar (Zatar)?

The mix of different herbs varies from region to region. Different families have even developed their own mix. It's almost like the trendy drink 'Mexikaner' in Hamburg. Every pub has its own mix (headaches are always guaranteed when you drink Mexicans). The main ingredients of Za’atar are thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds. This mix goes very well with an incredible number of dishes.

Where can you buy Za'atar (Zaatar, Zahtar or Zatar)?

The delicious spice mixture is available in most Turkish shops and of course on Amazon.
But you can also easily do it yourself. Here I have the recipe for you:
4 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp marjoram
2 tbsp oregano
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Za’atar opens up a whole new world of cooking for you

You can add the spice to many simple dishes or ingredients. For example:

  • on eggplants baked in the oven
  • on hard-boiled eggs
  • in meatballs
  • as a dip or dressing in olive oil
  • with garlic and lemon zest as a marinade for grilling

I can keep writing the list forever (see below). But I promise you that I will make many more recipes with this wonderful spice mixture in the future.

Za’atar for breakfast

In the Arabic-speaking world, Zaatar is an integral part of breakfast. For this you take Laban (cream cheese), a few drops of olive oil and Za’atar. Then the typical flatbread or pita is dipped into it. But you can also use a crusty country bread. Or you have hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and bread with a bowl full of olive oil and za’atar. You then dip the bread in olive oil and then in Za’atar so that it sticks to it. The piquant taste goes wonderfully with creamy cream cheese and olives. Really Mediterranean-oriental. And above all, healthy!

11 ways to cook with the Za’atar (Zatar) spice mixture

1. The classic: Put the Za’atar in olive oil and then dip the bread. Or traditionally dip the bread in olive oil first and then in the spice mixture so that it sticks.

2. Spread the cream cheese Laban (Labneh) on bread, add tomato slices or cucumber slices and olive oil with za’atar.

3. Scrambled eggs with crumbly feta cheese, sliced ​​parsley and a few chilli flakes together with some za’atar also makes a great breakfast.

4. Zaatar also goes well with hummus with olive oil.

5. The mixture fits pretty much all roasted vegetables (e.g. cauliflower, carrots or potatoes). You can also sprinkle za’atar on baked zucchini or aubergine slices (very tasty!).

6. With canned organic chickpeas.

7. You can also add the seasoning to grilled fish or chicken after grilling.

8. Season the avocado on toast with za’atar.

9. You can also melt a mild cheese and enjoy it on bread with tomato slices and za’atar.

10. To bake bread, you can spread a paste made from olive oil and za’atar onto the loaf of bread before it goes into the oven.

11. Now comes the hammer: grilled feta cheese with honey and za’atar. The madness!

Send me your Zatar recipes

Do you know any other possible uses for the oriental spice? I'm pretty sure, because the possible combinations with Za’atar are endless. I look forward to every suggestion from you so that I can experiment with it.