Middle Eastern Ingredients
Pick up these specialty items from well-stocked supermarkets, natural-foods stores, Middle Eastern or Asian markets and from persianbasket.com. Plus, learn other ways to use them.
Carob Molasses (p.84) Dark and viscous like regular molasses, carob molasses has coffee and cocoa undertones. Use
it up: Mix with an equal amount of tahini for a Pb&j-like dip; swap for regular molasses.
(p.94) These berries have a lemony, sweet-sour tang. Use it up: Swap for currants or dried sour cherries.
Aleppo Pepper (p.69) Named for the city in northern Syria, these dried chile flakes lend bright fruitiness and gentle heat. Use it up: Sprinkle on roast vegetables, meats or even fresh fruit or your avocado toast.
Sumac (p.83) The ground tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush add fruity, sour flavor. Use it up:
Garnish hummus or baba ghanoush; add to a tomato and cucumber salad.
Bulgur (p.72, 83) This quick-cooking whole grain is made by parboiling, drying and grinding or cracking wheat berries. It can be fine or coarse—you’ll need the fine grind for the recipes in this issue. Use it up:
Make tabbouleh or use it as your grain-bowl base.
Saffron (p.69, 94) These crimson-colored threads are the delicate stigmas of the saffron crocus flower. They lend a vivid golden hue and
rich floral flavor. About 90 percent of saffron comes from Iran. Use it
up: Add to risotto, rice pudding or paella.
Cracked Freekeh (p.82) Made from young green wheat that’s been roasted and cracked, this whole grain has a toasty, nutty flavor. Use it up: Use it like you would rice for fried freekeh instead.
Za’atar Leaves (p.72) A wild herb from the same family as thyme and oregano, za’atar (not to be confused with the popular Mediterranean spice blend za’atar, which sometimes includes this herb) has thin, pointy leaves like rosemary and a lemony, peppery flavor. Use it up: Swap for
thyme, oregano, marjoram or rosemary; sprinkle on grilled vegetables, meat or seafood.
Pomegranate Molasses (p.74, 82) Made from reduced tart pomegranate juice, this dark red syrup adds sweetness and acidity. Use it up: Glaze roast meat; stir into tea; drizzle over roasted vegetables; make muhammara.
Tamarind (p.91) The sticky, candy-sour pulp found inside the pods from the tamarind tree is used to make a concentrated paste (with or without seeds) that’s common to dishes from across southern Asia. Use
it up: Make pad thai; stir into sautéed vegetables or salad dressing.
Fenugreek (p.69, 91) Both the leaves (fresh or dried) and their mustard-colored seeds (whole or ground) have a complex flavor that’s a little nutty and almost maple-y. Use it up: Ground seeds can be used in curry powders, teas, rubs or as a seasoning for cooked vegetables. Add fresh leaves to salads, sauces and curries.
Baharat (p.83) Find out more about baharat on page 109. Use it up: Mix into ground lamb for burgers; sprinkle over tzatziki.
Dried Sour Cherries
(p.74, 94) Also known as dried tart cherries, they have a lip-puckering flavor. Use it up: Stir into granola or oatmeal.