Today's Spice is Sumac
Sumac! Smack, smack for sumac! I love sumac, so sue me!
Many years ago, I had a nice boyfriend from Iran, and he was the person who taught me about sumac. Whenever we would go out for Iranian food, there was always sumac on the table - just like there is always salt and pepper on the table. My rice dishes and veggie dishes always came sprinkled with distinctive reddish-brown tangy flecks of sumac.
When you buy sumac, it will be ground up, and it will resemble coarsely ground coffee. It looks dark brown, but it gets much more reddish when you mix it with liquid or let it stain your white rice. The flavor of sumac is great. It's a little citrusy, earthy, tangy, and bright. Try it, you'll like it!
First up, I decided to make some Fattoush - a famous salad from the Middle East, which prominently features sumac. I more or less followed the recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Man, was it great! Romaine, tomatoes, pursalane, pieces of toasted pita bread, lemon juice, sumac, bell peppers, olive oil... so delicious! PLUS...
We added in some tofu! Right as I was preparing my shopping list, my friend Alana sent me this recipe for Sumac Tofu. Perfect! I was looking for a good protein-y item to go with our salad. Plus, this recipe called for two entire tablespoons of sumac. It also called for chili powder, which made me very skeptical... but I have to say, I loved the end result.
It was Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats who had the genius idea to cut up the tofu slabs into little chunks and mix them in with the salad. Friends, this was an amazing dinner. We were both oooohing and aahhhing our way through to the last bite. Fresh, filling, flavorful, light, and robust. I cannot wait to make this again... first I just have to get through another month of other spices!