You may not have sumac in your pantry, but watch out as this underrated spice is becoming more and more popular.

What is Sumac?

Sumac comes from the berries of a decorative bush that grows wild in all Mediterranean areas and is an essential ingredient in the cooking of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

It is a key ingredient in Zahter, a very popular spice in southern Turkish cooking.

Sumac Tree
The decorative Staghorn Sumac bush

The dark purple-red berries are sold dried or ground and have a lovely, nearly purple color, and a tart flavor that is reminiscent of vinegar or lemon.

Sumac berries drying in Seydikemer
Drying in Seydikemer

Ground Sumac

Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor. Try substituting it in any dish on which you might squeeze fresh lemon juice. If you enjoy hummus, try topping it with a sprinkling too. It’s delightful!Ground Sumac

It goes well with vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish.

Oven-roasted chicken with sumac, pomegranate molasses, chilli and sesame seeds

Recipe by Rick Stein

It’s great sprinkled on salads.


Fattoush - Recipe by Simon Rimmer
Fattoush – Recipe by Simon Rimmer

A revelation on eggs!

Sumac sprinkled on hard boiled eggs
Sprinkled on  eggs

And finally, it imparts a great refreshing flavor as a syrup in desserts, jellies and drinks, like the sumac soda below.

Sumac soda
Sumac soda

Click here for more things you can do with sumac.

Sumac is readily available in the UK from Amazon and leading supermarkets.