Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

zaatar (or zaʾatar or zahtar) the Arabic name for wild thyme, commonly denotes a mixture of that herb with sumac, usually but not always with toasted sesame seeds. Another ingredient can be the ground seeds of Pistacia terebinthus, a relation of mastic.

In its simplest form zaatar is used to garnish labneh (see yoghurt); and it is used throughout the Near East to flavour fried eggs.

The bread called manaʾeesh bil-zaʾtar is popular in the Lebanon, especially for breakfast; the dough is spread with a mixture of zaatar mixed with some olive oil before being baked.