Herbie’s Spice Of The Month — Sumac


September 29, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson

Eggplant-sumac-chilli-Herbies-spice-whatsonthelistHands up, how many people know where sumac comes from and what it tastes like?
I don’t see too many hands up in Internet Land!

Sumac also known as sumach, sumaq, sumak, and Sicilian sumac comes from dried and crushed berries.

It is popular (and almost essential) in Middle Eastern cuisine and largely used Mediterranean dishes.

Most people experiencing sumac for the first time might be surprised by its tart, lemony taste, but it is that taste that enhances the flavors of meats, stews, veggies (Aussie lingo for vegetables) and rice dishes to name a few.

Courtesy of Herbie’s Spices, and as part of Ian Hemphill’s ongoing Spice of The Month series, sumac was sent to me to see what I could create!

I have previously used sumac in the types of dishes above.

I’ve also added it to yogurt and made a sweet & sour sumac sauce, sumac lemonade; goes great in making jams and jellies.
Do you know the difference between the two?

I found The Difference Between Jams and Jellies interesting via Today I Found Out.

I hope we all can learn something new about sumac today too!
Herbies-sumac-spice-whatsonthelistI would also like today to “debunk” a sumac myth as friends of mine got “concerned” when I mentioned I would be making recipes with sumac.

The dried and crushed fruit used as a spice, should not be confused with “poison sumac”, a tree native to the east coast of the United States and Canada.

Been New York born and bred, I have had MANY “encounters” with THAT sumac too!

Rest assured, my friends now know the difference and they enjoyed each and every dish I made using sumac which most of them had previously only experienced sprinkled over hummus.

We all get inspired by what we read and see!

I knew when I saw Amira’s Palestinian sumac appetizers via Arabian mama, this recipe which is great, could be adapted by me!

My adapted recipe serves as a guide; feel free to adjust the recipe for personal taste.

Joanna’s Pan-Grilled Eggplant with Sumac and Chilli with Baked Sumac Chips

1 eggplant, medium sized, washed, cut in slices
2 tablespoons Herbie’s Spices Sumac
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red chilli flakes (adjust for personal taste; I LOVE foods hot & spicy!)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Himalayan pink salt as contains trace elements)
2 – 3 red chilli peppers(adjust for personal taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil for brushing eggplant

Original recipe called for adding “juice from half a lemon.”
I chose to omit as the tart, lemony flavor of the sumac was sufficient for me.
Feel free to serve with lemon wedges.

In a mini-blender or grinder, mix all ingredients (except eggplant) until desired consistency; set aside.

Just like the three bears, you don’t want the mixture “too chunky”, “too smooth”, but “just right.”
Trust me, WHEN you make this, you will know what is right for you!

With a pastry brush, coat both sides of the eggplant with oil.

Heat fry pan, then add eggplant; pan-grill until desired doneness; set aside on paper towels to drain.

Spread sumac and chilli mixture onto eggplant.

Allow at least an hour for the beautiful sumac and chilli mixture to “introduce” it self and soak into the eggplant!

This can be made with other veggies and I reckon this sumac and chilli mixture would be GREAT with roasted cauliflower too!

I always like to use what I have on hand.

I have made my own tortillas from scratch which are very simple, easy to do; might I mention economical too!

Today I had some wholemeal tortillas to use up and cut them in various shapes to bake.
Please tell me it is not JUST me!
I enjoy chips of all sizes and shapes and find them “food whimsical” to see!

INGREDIENTS for Baked Sumac Chips
2 Wholemeal Tortillas, cut in various shapes
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon lemon thyme (feel free to substitute any herb seasoning that appeals to you)
1 1/2 tablespoons Herbie’s Spices Sumac

Pre-heat oven to 200C. (~400F)

Lay chips flat on a baking tray; bake until golden brown and crispy.

As soon as you remove the chips from the oven, coat with spice mix.

I made multiple batches, coating the chips prior to baking then rolling the chips in the sumac lemon thyme mixture once they were removed from the oven and found I preferred the latter.

This is what I LOVE about cooking and baking, recipes only serve “as a guide” to “inspire” helping you along the way, but in the adding of a “dash of this”, “a pinch of that”, adds your personal touch to any recipe creatively!

Do you now have a craving to try a new recipe with Herbie’s Spice Of The Month — Sumac?

Herbie’s complete catalogue is available for convenient ordering online for Sumac and other herbs and spices!

Do YOU have a favorite sumac recipe YOU would like to share?

Your comments always brighten my day!
Appetizer-sumac-Herbies-whatsonthelistIf you enjoyed this post, why not follow me Facebook and Twitter.

21 thoughts on “Herbie’s Spice Of The Month — Sumac

  1. I’ve never bought Sumac! Learned something new, thank you!! Those sumac chips looks yummy!

  2. Amira says:

    Hi Joanne,
    Sumac is indeed one of the underestimated spices on earth :). It is so popular in the middle east specially in Palestine,Jordan and Lebanon. Thanks for the mention my friend. Keep it up

  3. How many posts have I missed during my trip!? 😀 I need to read and read now, lol

  4. leggypeggy says:

    Sumac is one of my favourite flavours. Yummo!

  5. My hand is up, I know sumac and I love it. Nice recipes you made there. And yep I know those trees, we called them lemonade trees…not the we made anything with it.

  6. A spice I love. Both the eggplants and chips look very tempting.



  7. Sumac is one of my favourite spices, especially with meat as it really lifts the flavour like lemon 😀

  8. I love Herbies! I buy so many of their spices. I have bought Sumac and used it when cooking Middle Eastern dishes. I love the look of your sumac chips! xx

  9. LOVE sumac and living in the Middle East I can indulge regularly. Try baking cauliflower on a baking sheet, high oven, before putting them in, lightly goat with olive oil and a dusting of sumac and salt and pepper. Divine!

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Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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