Try tAngy sumAC or zA’AtAr to give your sAlAd some zip, soul some rest

Ottawa Citizen - - YOU - KATIE WORK­MAN

Dur­ing the month of Ra­madan, ob­ser­vant Mus­lims per­form daily fasts from dawn to dusk, break­ing the fast with a meal (usu­ally a light one) only after the sun sets.

Fast­ing is in­tended to cleanse the soul, al­low­ing Mus­lims to turn their at­ten­tion in­ward, toward char­ity work and prayer, and away from ma­te­rial things.

One of the dishes on many ta­bles in Le­van­tine coun­tries dur­ing Ra­madan is fat­toush. It may be served dur­ing the evening meal and is of­ten part of the cel­e­bra­tory spread to mark the end of the month of ab­sti­nence.

Many coun­tries have a ver­sion of fat­toush. As with many cross­cul­tural dishes, re­search­ing the dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties is both fun and slightly ex­haust­ing.

There’s al­ways some type of flat­bread, such as pita, and to­ma­toes and cu­cum­bers. But then ... let­tuce or no let­tuce? Veg­eta­bles sliced or diced? Radishes? Pep­pers? Le­mon or lime juice? A bit of sweet­ener? Sumac? Choices to be made.

Mince your gar­lic as much as you can to form a paste so that it re­ally blends into the dress­ing.

I used a lit­tle pomegranate syrup in my dress­ing be­cause I had a bot­tle ly­ing around (which I re­al­ize is not nor­mal for many cooks). Use honey if you are not as in­gre­di­ent-nerdy as I am (or you can find the syrup on­line or in a spe­cialty foods store).

Sumac is a spice made from berries that grow wild on bushes in Le­banon and other coun­tries in the re­gion. It’s a clas­sic fat­toush sea­son­ing. The flavour is tart and tangy.

You could use that in­stead of the za’atar, which is a lovely, tangy and earthy com­bi­na­tion of sumac, thyme, sesame and mar­jo­ram (some­times cumin), and is of­ten eas­ier to find in su­per­mar­kets.


Fat­toush can eas­ily be made at home and is a per­fect light meal to break a fast.

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