Sometimes I find myself in the kitchen, baffled, with a raised eyebrow and an inkling that the only thing that can save me is the Google search engine.

You know, the times when I’m trying to cut a papaya. Or make homemade buttermilk. And then there’s the spices that I haven’t ever heard of or know what to do with, but have found their way  onto my spice shelf.


What stumps you in the kitchen? What is the craziest ingredient, spice, dish you’ve ever made? And what the hell do I do with all this Sumac?

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15 responses to “Sumac?

  1. Sumac is heavily used in Lebanese dishes.
    Make fattoush! It’s my favourite salad. It’s a chopped salad made with romaine hearts, green onions, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, and fried (or baked) pita bread. It’s dressed with a dressing of garlic, salt, sumac, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s phenomenal.

    You can also mix sumac with thyme, sesame seeds, oregano, and salt to make the Lebanese herb/spice mix za’atar. You can mix za’atar with a bit olive oil and brush it on pizza dough and bake it (kinda like a pizza).

  2. I’ve only ever heard of the poison kind… I’m going to assume Williams-Sonoma doesn’t sell that variety. 😉

  3. I love Sumac!!
    I use it with flatbread, like I did here:
    It’s also really great in greek salad! And on popcorn…

  4. haha! I have never even heard of sumac…I am obviously going to be zero help!

  5. glad I found your blog. Sumac….so glad to read there is a safe kind and how it’s used.

  6. Isn’t this the same as File powder?

  7. Celeste

    Try the sumac as a part of a stuffing for fish, its fruity sour flavour gives a real high note zingyness that mixed with some warm spices is great. Check its fresh’ish tho as I had some of this mingling in the spice cupboard way too long (on the too many years rather than too many mths side of too long) it lost its pep & was just plain old dull. ‘Delights From The Garden of Eden’ (wonderful wonderful tome of a cookbook) has fish stuffing paste spiced with 1/2c sumac, 1/4c za’tar or thyme, 1/2t coriander, 1/2t cumin, 1/2t cinnamon, 4 clove garlic, 1/2c walnut, bit of oil & water, salt if you fancy it. Stuff & bake. Yum.

  8. George D

    You can use it instead of salt (sparingly). It also goes wonderfully with tofu, and in fried savoury dishes. And it goes amazingly as a compliment to lime and lemon in dishes. A perfect summer spice.

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