Sumac was first used in Ottolenghi's cookbooks, the book Ottolenghi simple. It is also in our box with Ottolenghi ingredients . Sumac is one of Ottolenghi's favorite spices and he uses it in many dishes about which more later in this article.
What is Sumac and what can you use it for?
Sumac is a seasoning from the Middle East: the purple-brown, hairy fruits of the sumac plant are ground as spices used in Iranian, Turkish and Kurdish cuisine, among others. Sumac is a genus of about 250 species of shrubs and small trees from the wig tree family. Some of the plants in this family are edible and other varieties are not as tasty and some varieties are even poisonous. Sumac comes from the Rhus Coriaria.
We call Sumac an herb or a spice, but actually they are dried and ground stone fruits. The fruits grow in deep red, upright bunches and are covered with a layer of downy hairs. That's where the name velvet tree comes from. The typical sour taste is in these hairs of the berry and in the skin of the fruit.
The taste of Sumac is a spicy sour taste, a bit like citrus, fresh and spicy. The earth ear suits Sumac with many dishes. Ottolenghi uses it over salads, grilled vegetables, chicken, fish and lamb but also over yogurt. By heating it loses its taste, so always add sumac at the end of a preparation.
Sumac is also delicious over this dish of sweet potato fries , in this case put sumac and Smoked paprika powder and a little Pul Biber over it. A delicious combination of flavours.
All three of these ingredients are in our box of ingredients for Ottolenghi fans.