Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Sadaf Sumac. Note that this is middle eastern sumac not our native variety here in North America. While there are some similar characteristics sumac from the Mediterranean and Arabic parts of the world is a different species with a long history of culinary use.
Dorothy and I really got hooked on this stuff when we found a recipe for “carrot fries” which are really just roasted carrots with this stuff on them, the recipe is really simple. Cut carrots into sticks, coat with peanut oil, sprinkle Sumac, Salt and Pepper on them, roast at 425 until done, (20-30 minutes depending on your oven). We use the “convection roast” setting on our oven when we make these and they come out great.
One of my other favorite uses for this stuff is my Lamb Heart, Lamb Sausage and Oyster Mushroom stew. I have posted that on facebook and you can see it here. I use Sadaf Sumac in the homemade lamb sausage that goes in the stew, I have to tell you it was pretty fantastic.
This stuff is great on fish and chicken as you might imagine as it has a tart lemon like flavor much like its US cousins we all know and love. On that note, the reason for this is it is high in ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C). Hence it is natural anti oxidant and has quite a bit of good press around health benefits. There is a pretty good write up about that here.
There is a ton that can be done with this stuff beyond carrot fries and lamb sausage by the way. It is fantastic on fish, it can stand in for lemon on grilled fish very well. It livens up dips and is the type of thing that you just have to expirment with. It is also the key stone ingredient in the middle eastern seasoning known as za’atar, something you really should learn how to make. The recipe for that is here. I recently made Alton Brown’s reloaded roasted chicken with za’atar (his not so secret secret ingredient) and it was amazing. You can find that recipe here.
I want to be clear that I love this brand but I am not a sumac snob, I am sure that there are other decent brands but I chose this one for a reason. A reason you’d not think you need to worry about. Here is the deal, a ton of brads that say they are selling sumac are actually selling you sumac and salt! Think about it, this stuff is an exotic spice grown in a relatively small region of the world. Salt is stupid cheap and widely availale. So many cut their sumac with salt to make a cheaper product. Folks if I want salt in something I will put it in myself. Another thing to look out for is while some brands do say they have salt in the fine print on the label. I have found some that don’t, yet when you tasted it, you can tell it is more than half salt.
In the end Sadaf Sumac is about the best quality stuff I was able to find and at less than 12 bucks with free shipping on prime a 12 ounce container will last you a long time for not much money. So consider adding Sadaf Sumac to your spice cabinet today and expand your culinary options.
Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com
P.S. – I guess I have to say it, no this isn’t poison sumac and no variety of sumac with red berries is poison sumac. So no this stuff will not make you itch. That said anyone with an allergy to cashews may have an allergy to sumac, so keep that in mind if it effects you or your family. Bluntly always use all new food items with caution on the first use.