This recipe was supposed to come last week, days before I boarded that plane, flew across the ocean and came home. Though years after leaving this country I am now not sure which country really is my home. The world we created as a little family comes to mind every time I think of one. But this place still has and will always hold that invisible string attached to us that keeps pulling us in. So at this wee hour in the morning, fighting with jet lag, the little monkey strapped to my chest in her baby carrier while I stroll the streets of this familiar neighborhood in India, I can’t stop thinking of my home. The home that has my bed, my kitchen and my family room which this year is devoid of a Christmas because we are here.
Its that time of the year again. Christmas is right around the corner and an illuminated neighborhood and holiday songs playing at stores in the background told us so when we were there. It isn’t as decorated and “Christmasy” in India but Santa costumes hanging outside the road side shops and Christmas trees on display here and there are tickling my kids and reminding them of the countdown they need to keep track of. “Five more days Maa… now just four!” they exclaim with a brightened face.
We had to leave for India a while before I normally pack my christmas gifts and hand them out to the loved ones. I have to be honest, amongst all the travel shopping and packing holiday gifts took a back seat and was put together in a hustle. But something handmade had to be added to the box and homemade spice rub sounded interesting. Za’atar spice mix a staple in my pantry made the cut because of its versatility and also because I am addicted to it! I rub them on meat, toss them with sautéed vegetables and stir them into dips and dressings. Butterfly’s teachers appreciated the idea, hopefully you and your friends will too. So if you are scrambling through last minute Christmas shopping maybe a jar of homemade Za’atar spice mix will make up for a good add on. Try it!
Ingredients: Inspired by this recipe
1/4 cup Sumac
2 tablespoons thyme (fresh leaves or dried)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (roasted)
3 tablespoon Oregano (or do marjoram and oregano 50-50. I was out of marjoram so added only oregano)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt (personal preference. You can just substitute with Kosher Salt or Sea Salt).
Bring all the ingredients together. Toss or stir with a spoon to blend it all together. I personally prefer coarsely grinding them with mortar and pestle.
Transfer to a clean and dry airtight container. Use as required.
Zatar can be used as spice rub on meat and vegetables. Tastes amazing when mixed with extra virgin olive oil as a dip. Can also be used to make dressings for salad.