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What is Sumac Spice?

what is sumac

People are often not familiar with this spice that is regularly used in Middle Eastern cuisine, but have heard of poison sumac, which this is definitely not!

Middle Eastern cooking utilizes different spices in popular recipes helping create layers of tastes which ultimately adds a richness to many dishes.

This plant grows wild in many parts of the Middle East, and Mediteranean it is now used in cuisines ranging from Africa to North America.

This particular spice adds a bit of a sour flavor that is not exactly lemony, but compliments lemon juice to give a deep zest of sourness. Perfect as an ingredient in a fattoush salad. 

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What is Sumac Spice?

what is sumac

This spice is derived from the dried and ground purple red berries from a shrub that is related to cashews, mangos, and even poison ivy!

Just be sure that you are harvesting the red berries, other color varieties can be poisonous therefore it’s a good idea to know exactly what you are looking for if you are harvesting the berries yourself.

What does Sumac Taste Like?

Sour is the best way to describe the taste of this spice.

It is tart but does not exactly taste of lemon, which adds to its characteristic ability to add sourness without making things too acidic. 

Sumac Benefits

The health benefits are immense.

For starters, it’s a big anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants which allows it to help immobilize free radicals that can cause cancer and heart disease.

This plant has been used to treat cardiovascular diseases, as well as helping to lower blood pressure.

It has also been found to be beneficial to people with type two diabetes where it helps limits cardiovascular issues.

It fights germs, and fungal infections, and can help with menstrual disorders, and cramps. 

Sumac Substitute

what is sumac

The thing that is most commonly used as a substitute for this flavor is probably lemon juice, since a sour flavor is needed, and this is a relatively easy substitute.

A better option I have found is actually lemon zest with a little yuzu salt, or regular salt if you don’t have the yuzu. 

Where to Buy Sumac

Cooking with Sumac

Use this spice as a way to enhance the sourness of a dish, giving it a more complex flavor that will round out a dish.

It is also a good addition to fatty meat recipes where it helps cut what can otherwise be an overwhelming fatty taste.

Also use it to season and garnish food, like hummus, or roasted eggplant, boiled or scrambled eggs.

Add it to salads, or fish dishes, it is a very versatile spice, and perfect for creative uses.

Sumac Recipes

Sumac Onions

musakhan
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0 from 0 votes

Sumac Onions

Perfect for garnishes, added to grilled sandwiches or a topping for steak.
Author: Chef Tariq
PREP TIME10 minutes
COOK TIME15 minutes
TOTAL TIME25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Category: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Peel and slice the onions, mix with with sumac, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat oil over medium heat.
  • Fry onions until soft and translucent.

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 115kcal - Carbohydrates: 5g - Protein: 1g - Fat: 11g - Saturated Fat: 1g - Sodium: 75mg - Potassium: 80mg - Fiber: 1g - Sugar: 2g - Vitamin C: 4mg - Calcium: 13mg - Iron: 1mg
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @cheftariqcooks or hashtag it #cheftariq!

Sumac Chicken

musakhan
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Sumac Chicken

Great with rice and salad.
Author: Chef Tariq
PREP TIME10 minutes
COOK TIME25 minutes
TOTAL TIME35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Category: Chicken
Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cube chicken and dice onions.
  • Heat oil over medium heat, add onions and saute for five minutes.
  • Add salt and spices. Cook onions until soft and translucent.
  • Add chicken, stir, and cook for about fifteen minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 224kcal - Carbohydrates: 7g - Protein: 17g - Fat: 14g - Saturated Fat: 2g - Cholesterol: 48mg - Sodium: 673mg - Potassium: 396mg - Fiber: 1g - Sugar: 3g - Vitamin A: 23IU - Vitamin C: 6mg - Calcium: 27mg - Iron: 1mg
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @cheftariqcooks or hashtag it #cheftariq!

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Hello! I’m Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about Middle Eastern fusion cooking. I travel to eat and I share my experiences along the way!

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Hello! I’m Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about Middle Eastern fusion cooking. I travel to eat and I share my experiences along the way!