Quick Recipes and Easy

Super Sumac

Sumac is a coarse-grained, reddish-brown powder from the fruit of a wild bush that grows in poor soil throughout the Mediterranean. Sicily and Turkey are prime producers. The berries are picked just before ripening, then dried and crushed for the spice. The flavor is fruity and acidic with an nearly raisin-like aroma. Its acidity is due to the presence of malic, gallic and tannic acids.
Medicinally, sumac has cooling and diuretic qualities. In the Middle East a sour drink is made from the berry to relieve digestive problems. The whole plant furnishes tannin and dyes, which are used in the production of leather.

Sumac was used by the Romans as a souring agent before the availability of lemons. It is still used as such today in Arabian cookery where it is often rubbed into fish, poultry and meat prior to grilling. In the Middle East, and particularly in Lebanese cuisine, a blend of yogurt and sumac is served as a dip for kebabs. In Iraq and Turkey, sumac is often sprinkled on salads.

Sometimes the whole berry is used, although they are hard to find in North America. Powdered sumac is readily available in ethnic grocery stores. When whole berries are used, they are cracked and then soaked in water for up to an hour. The berries are pressed to extract all the juice, which is then added to the cooking liquid.

Try the following two dishes together. Serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice.

Arabian Chicken

· Two small-medium chickens, cut up

· One onion chopped fine

· Four to six cloves of garlic, minced

· Juice of half a lemon

· One to two inch piece of cinnamon stick, crushed

· One to two bay leaves

· Half a cup dry white wine

· Dash of Worcestershire sauce

· Four Tbsp. olive oil

· Two tsp. sumac

· Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients well and marinate the chicken in the mix for several hours, or overnight. Then place the chicken, skin side up in a large shallow pan. Pour over enough marinade to not quite cover the chicken. Cook, uncovered, at 350 F for about one hour or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned. For those who like to barbecue or grill their chicken, an alternative is to remove the chicken from the marinade – reserving it for basting – and barbecue or grill it.

Sumac and Onion Relish

· Two to three small red onions sliced thinly into rings

· Two tsp. sumac

· One Tbsp. olive oil

· One tsp. salt

· Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place the onions in a bowl and mix thoroughly with the other ingredients. Make one day ahead of time and keep in the fridge, stirring occasionally. If the relish is too dry, add a small more olive oil.

Bruce Burnett, has won four Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold awards for travel journalism. Read more of Bruce Burnett’s writing on his websites:

1. globalramble.com/ globalramble.com/

2. bruceburnett.ca/ bruceburnett.ca/

3. herbalcuisine.com/ herbalcuisine.com/

Tags: Health Benefits, simply recipes, Fruits And Vegetables, my recipes, tasty, simple recipes, gourmet, recipes snacks, cookbook, today show

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