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Sommaq, Sumac, Sumak


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#1 Saffy

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 03:09 AM

I have a little bag of Sommaq in my pantry, that I bought a while back when I had read several recipes that had it as an ingredient. But I have done my usual trick of forgetting where I read the recipes.

What kind of things can I use sommaq for.. do I need to mix it to a paste or should I just sprinkle and go for it?

Searching online gives me next to nothing on it

#2 polly

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 06:52 AM

It's great sprinkled on to kebabs or other middle eastern meat dishes.
I like it rubbed into chicken before being roasted too.
Try searching under sumak/sumac for more info.
How sad; a house full of condiments and no food.

#3 foodgeek

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 07:06 AM

It's great sprinkled on to kebabs or other middle eastern meat dishes.
I like it rubbed into chicken before being roasted too.
Try searching under sumak/sumac for more info.

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was sumac she was talking about. :)

I also like it on kabobs.

You could use it to make some ZA'ATAR, and eat it with pita and olive oil.

Here is a Gourmet Mag recipe for it:
http://www.epicuriou.../view?id=106776
-Jason

#4 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 08:14 AM

Ohhhhh....sumac.

Lamb or goat. Nice on grilled short ribs too.

And zataar for pita, definitely.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#5 jhlurie

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 09:21 AM

Ohhhhh....sumac.

Lamb or goat. Nice on grilled short ribs too.

And zataar for pita, definitely.

Whew. For a moment I thought you were talking about this instead of this. I'd hate to eat that first one. :wink:
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#6 Suzanne F

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 09:36 AM

If "sommaq" = "sumac" then that's the Syrian kind of zaatar: the red stuff. Great sprinkled over yogurt for a dip, as well as what everyone has already suggested. Very tart and tangy.

There's also green Jordanian zaatar, which is wild marjoram mixed with sesame seeds (and maybe some other herbs). This is what I've seen more often baked onto pita.

Anyway, these are the distinctions that Sahadi and other middle-eastern food stores in Brooklyn make.

#7 Saffy

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 06:34 PM

Thanks! I know what type of culinary direction to head in now :)

#8 Jinmyo

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 06:44 PM

Ohhhhh....sumac.

Lamb or goat. Nice on grilled short ribs too.

And zataar for pita, definitely.

Whew. For a moment I thought you were talking about this instead of this. I'd hate to eat that first one. :wink:

Jon, that depends on who's ordering. Although you're number 1, you'd always get the second.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#9 torakris

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 03:32 AM

Are zaatar and sumac the same thing? Nigella Lawson's new book calls for zaatar quite a bit and I wasn't sure what it was.

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#10 Jinmyo

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 04:45 AM

tokaris, no. Sumac is an ingredient. For one portion of sumac use two of savory, marjoram, and thyme, about four portions of sesame seed, about one and a half portions of salt, lots of lemon zest. This is only a basic "recipe" and off the top of my head. I might be forgetting something.

ediot:
"Marjoram" is not usually spelled "mrajoram".
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#11 CathyL

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 04:51 AM

Zaatar is a dry mix of herbs/spices. There's an interesting discussion here that includes citations from Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden. Apparently zaatar is also an herb with an oregano/thyme/marjoram flavor.

#12 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 11:53 AM

Saffy, in the Lavender thread you mentioned Dukkah. Ground toasted hazelnuts, peppercorns, thyme, and salt. Has anyone tried adding some sumac?

#13 Saffy

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 02:31 PM

Suzanne, when I was browsing around for Dukkah recipes it was really amazing how many variations there were out there.

The only thing that seemed to be consistent was nuts of some kind dried thyme and black pepper, everything else seemed to be changed around for all kinds of things. I don't see why you could not add a little in and give it a shot! Not sure how authentic it would be, but it would probably be good:)

Some of the dukkah recipes had cayenne and chili in them. Here in the stores you can buy " spicy " dukkah and " sweet dukkah " which have different spice blends in them, as well as a multitude of others.. so I think it is one of those things that is probaly made according to taste by varying your ingredients whilst keeping the basics the same.

#14 Suzanne F

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 02:42 PM

Reviving this because I happened to see it and thought about the zatar thread

#15 Suvir Saran

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 03:54 PM

Sumac is the name of this beautiful bush that grows throughout the Middle East and also some parts of North Africa now. Well for that matter it is also propogated and found in Italy, Iran,Turkey and India. The berries are supposedly better if borne to bushes grown in the higher altitudes. The sourness supposedly comes out more intense in higher altitudes.

What I love most are to look at the red berries as the leaves turn color in autumn. Amazing sight for the eyes.. .and if you are like me and thinking of the culinary uses as well, you are in heaven.

The mounds of sumac berries drying in the open sun are most amazing of sights. There is little if any smell to these berries. But if you bite them they are sour. There is also a neutral aftertaste to them. No sharp quality.

I often will grill fish that has been rubbed with Sumac. It is a great way of cleansing the fish (for Sumac has famous astringent qualities) and then grilling the fish with a simple marinade. I do not use Curry Powder on fish, it is TOO bold for my taste. When I make Shammi Kebabs (Indian version of mince meat patties), I sprinkle sumac for adding a sour taste to the kebabs.

When I have been in cities or homes with no Amchoor (mango powder) or Tamarind, but Sumac, I have used it instead as the souring agent.

At Moustache on Bedford Street, they serve me onions with Sumac sprinkled on them. It is also a common garnish sprinkled on Yogurt served with Mezze.

It is an essential ingredient of Zahtar.

You can simply use Sumac to sour dishes as you would use lemon, tamarind, vinegar or amchoor.

#16 Suvir Saran

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 03:55 PM

Reviving this because I happened to see it and thought about the zatar thread

And this Sumac thread... :wink:

#17 FoodMan

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Posted 31 October 2002 - 05:17 PM

Zaatar is a dry mix of herbs/spices.  There's an interesting discussion here that includes citations from Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden.  Apparently zaatar is also an herb with an oregano/thyme/marjoram flavor.

I can only speak for what Lebanese Za'tar is. the above comment is correct it refers to both:
1- an herb that usually grows wild and has a flavor very similar to thyme/oregano and
2- an herb mixture that uses the above mentioned herb as a main ingredient in addition to Sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt. this mixed in with EVOO is the Za'tar mixture use on "Manakish" (a delicious pizza-like pie eaten for breakfast) , and the one I have two full jars of at home and is very tasty with Pita bread.

I realize other Middle Eastern countries have different varieties of the Za'tar like the Syrian one with more sumac and I believe they add crushed pistaschios to it.

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#18 stellabella

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 09:26 AM

my yoga teacher was harvesting sumac berries [we're in georgia] and letting them soak overnight in cold spring water, to make tea. i'm pretty sure we're talking about the same sumac. the result was a very refreshing tart beverage, with, according to her, medicinal properties--i'm guessing from the tartness/acidity it is high in Vit. C.

#19 Suvir Saran

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 10:39 AM

my yoga teacher was harvesting sumac berries [we're in georgia] and letting them soak overnight in cold spring water, to make tea.  i'm pretty sure we're talking about the same sumac.  the result was a very refreshing tart beverage, with, according to her, medicinal properties--i'm guessing from the tartness/acidity it is high in Vit. C.

Yes we are talking of the same berries.
You can find Sumac growing where you live? Lucky you! :smile:

#20 Rushina

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 10:50 AM

are these the little red berries?

#21 sparrowgrass

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:16 AM

Suvir, sumac is common wild plant in the eastern half of the country. My kids liked sumac-ade when they were younger.
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#22 Adam Balic

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 03:22 AM

In several cookbooks I have seen Sumac being labeled as the same thing as Barberries. As far as I can tell they are seperate plants (both with sour red berries, although different flavour profiles). I wonder if anybody else has noticed this?

#23 ludja

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 11:05 AM

Silly question: How does sumac with edible berries compare to 'poison sumac'.

Sumac, (I think the 'poisonsous' kind) grows easily in CT. I'm not even sure which part is poisonous... :unsure:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

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#24 Adam Balic

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 01:53 AM

Sumac is from the Rhus genus. Some of these plants are toxic and can cause contact irritation to the skin, plus breathing problems.

#25 bleudauvergne

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Posted 10 February 2004 - 01:30 PM

Sumac! I grew up in central new york and it grew all over the neighborhood. There were a couple of mothers (mine included) who pointed their fingers at the Dr. Seuss looking bushes with the bunches of red furry berries and said they were ripe. They decided to harvest it. All the kids in the neighborhood gathered it, and these mothers did what they knew best with it, made jelly. They also made drinks out of it. It was great!

My next brush with "sumac" was when I got this mix of stuff from what I think was a lebanese deli with an epicerie section. It came in a bag without much of a label. It was green, not red like the sumac I knew. It had a wonderful enigmatic taste and I assumed it was a mix of many things. The flavor could be best describes as a little lemony, but with this kind of basic quality (basic as opposed to acidic). Like oseille. The ingredient list said: sumac.

What was that? Was it green colored sumac?

I just loved to sprinkle it on smoked sheeps cheese toast. There was a shop that had this cheese and I happened across the mixture. Delicious.

:raz:

-Lucy

#26 Modern Day Hermit

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 11:54 AM

One of my favorite sumac applications is in plain white basmatic rice with butter, especially when I am having some feta cheese, pita breads and kabob.

I discovered sumac at one of my favorite turkish places and fell in love, the lovely lady who ran the shop thought I was a little off -- sprinkling it in my rice, haha.
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#27 bbq4meanytime

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 12:22 PM

One of my favorite sumac applications is in plain white basmatic rice with butter, especially when I am having some feta cheese, pita breads and kabob.

I discovered sumac at one of my favorite turkish places and fell in love, the lovely lady who ran the shop thought I was a little off -- sprinkling it in my rice, haha.

Are you not supposed to sprinkle it on your rice? I had persian friend who used to blanket his rice with sumac like nor-easter dusting NY with snow in February. Then again maybe the turks do it differently?

#28 Modern Day Hermit

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 12:40 PM

Honestly, I am not sure what the proper technique is, I just do what tastes good. :biggrin:

It could have really been one of her personal preferences, I can't really say. It seemed like a very natural combination to me.
--Jenn

#29 theabroma

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:17 PM

Su

My next brush with "sumac" was when I got this mix of stuff from what I think was a lebanese deli with an epicerie section. It came in a bag without much of a label. It was green, not red like the sumac I knew. It had a wonderful enigmatic taste and I assumed it was a mix of many things. The flavor could be best describes as a little lemony, but with this kind of basic quality (basic as opposed to acidic). Like oseille. The ingredient list said: sumac.

What was that? Was it green colored sumac?

I just loved to sprinkle it on smoked sheeps cheese toast. There was a shop that had this cheese and I happened across the mixture. Delicious.

:raz:

-Lucy

I think it might have been a herb blend called za'atar, composed of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. It's sprinkled over oiled pita breads and baked, and over foods as a condiment. And it does have a delightful lemony taste.

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#30 sparrowgrass

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 02:44 PM

Poison Sumac is Toxicodendron vernix. It is the exception to the "leaves of three, let it be" rule--it has 7-10 leaflets. Unless you enjoy swamp slogging, don't worry about it too much--it grows in places most people don't go. It has white berries.

The sumacs with the edible berries are Rhus--Rhus copallina, Rhus aromatica, and several others. I have a big Rhus aromatic off the back porch--looks almost like poison ivy, but the leaves are not shiny, and the berries are red. And it smells good, but don't use that as a diagnostic tool--if you crush poison ivy leaves and hold them to your nose, you will be sorry.

If you remind me in the fall, I will mail sumac samples to anybody who wants them.
sparrowgrass