Zaatar, a Taste of the Middle East
WHAT IS ZAATAR?
Zaatar in Arabic means thyme. But we also use this term to designate a mixture of herbs and traditional spices from the Middle East. The thyme that they use (wild thyme) is different from the variety that we can find in the US. Its leaves are big and wide (the taste remains almost identical). It is dried and then rubbed in the hands to obtain ground thyme.
It is widely used in many cuisines and quite popular in Israel, Egypt, Syria, Greece, Turkey, Algeria, Armenia, Libya, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
HOW TO EAT ZAATAR?
You can use zaatar to season salads or condiments, flavor a pan of vegetables, meats, make marinades, etc. But in the Middle East, zaatar is most often tasted accompanied by its 2 faithful accomplices: bread and olive oil!
There are 2 traditional ways to eat zaatar:
STEP 1: Zaatar w zeit: zaatar + olive oil + bread (by bite or sandwich)
Zaatar is eaten with bread, but first it is blended with good olive oil. The famous “zaatar w zeit” (thyme and oil) is one of the most popular things in an oriental breakfast. And for some, breakfast is just that and a glass of tea.
STEP 2: There's also another way to eat zaatar which is quite popular and it's called "Manakish"; a kind of pizza topped with a mixture of olive oil and zaatar, and that Lebanese often eat for breakfast. You can make your own manakish at home by simply using the zaatar spice. It’s very easy and delicious, and keeps you full longer.
WHAT ABOUT THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
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