Being based in the U.A.E, I was introduced to these wonderful spices called zaatar and sumac. The former is basically a mix of sesame seeds and other green herbs like oregano, thyme and marjoram. Sumac is also a spice, got from the dry berries that are powdered and used as a souring agent.
These spices are used extensively on meat, vegetables, hummus, on Arabic breads and sprinkled on salads too. Hence, I decided to try using these spices and prepare a mutton curry and the taste was refreshingly different and delicious. Just have it with any Indian breads like tandoori roti or naan.
Zataar can be very easily made at home by combining all the above mentioned spices. The sumac can be substituted with amchur powder (dry mango powder) if it is not available.
- 500 gms. Mutton cubes (boneless or with bones)
- 2-3 tbsps. oil
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 3 medium onions, sliced
- 8-10 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. red chili powder or to taste
- 2 tsp. zaatar powder (mediterranean spice powder)
- 1/2 tsp. sumac powder (mediterranean spice equivalent to amchur powder)
- 1 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds
Pressure cook the mutton in 2 cups water for 20-25 minutes on low flame after the first whistle. Drain and wash well with fresh water. Keep aside.
Heat oil and temper with cumin seeds. After it stops spluttering, saute the garlic till it changes colour. Then add the onion and green chillies and fry till light brown.
Add the boiled mutton cubes, salt, turmeric powder and red chili powder and stir fry for a minute or two. Add the za'atar and sumac powder and saute to combine well. Serve, garnished with sesame seeds.