Pomegranates and Za’atar…..

There were two ingredients that had me really excited this past week…. 

1.  The gorgeous pomegranates that are around at the moment. They are so juicy and there is something about the look of them that just says buy me!!!


2. Za’atar – this is a Middle Eastern spice consisting of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds amongst other ingredients.  I have seen so many recipes lately including this spice mix, and after receiving my Ottolenghi cookbook last week just had to get my hands on some. So a long elaborate plan was hatched, e-mails sent, parcels exchanged and within the week I safely had in my hands, one packet of Za’atar and one little tub of NOMU pistachio and sumac dukkah, all the way from South Africa. So image my surprise when trawling the aisles of Metro here in Rabat, what did I find, a mountain of Za’atar! I nearly did a little dance right there and then!

 So to cut a long story short, I now have a mountain of Za’atar to use at my whim!

 First up some little flatbreads with Za’atar adapted from The Middle Eastern Kitchen by Ghillie Basan:


 For the breads:

5g dried yeast

½ tsp sugar

300ml lukewarm water

450g bread flour

½ tsp salt

2 Tbs Olive Oil


For the paste :

4 Tbs Za’atar

4 Tbs Olive Oil



Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a little of the water, until it froths. Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast and the rest of the water and the oil. Draw in the flour and work the mixture into a dough. Kneed for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and set aside to rise for about 2 hours.

 Heat the oven to 230°C.  

Make the paste by mixing together the za-atar with the oil.

Punch back the dough and divide it into about 20 pieces. Flatten the pieces and stretch out into little rounds. Place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet, spread some of the paste over the top and bake them for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.



 Served with an Aubergine, Pine Nut and Pomegranate Salad with Dukkah and Saffron Yoghurt from the Ottolenghi Cookbook:



 3 large aubergines cut into wedges

Olive oil for brushing

2 Tbsp roasted pin nuts

Handful of pomegranate seeds

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and black Pepper

2 Tbs NOMU pistachio and sumac dukkah


For the yoghurt:

A small pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbs of hot water

180g Greek yoghurt (I used plain)

1 tsp crushed garlic

2 ½ Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs Olive oil


For the sauce :

Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth sauce. Season with salt to taste and put in the fridge to chill.


For the salad:

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Brush the aubergines with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally until the aubergines are golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Arrange on a serving plater and arrange the basil, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts over the top before drizzling with the yoghurt sauce and sprinkling with the dukkah.


A wonderful combination of flavours and perfect as part of a mezze platter.



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7 Responses to “Pomegranates and Za’atar…..”

  1. on 17 Nov 2009 at 1:55 pm Living in Morocco

    Za’tar?!?! Wow, you are so lucky! Where is this Metro market in Rabat please so I can beg my husband to bring me there to buy some. I miss it terribly…what a treat it would be to have some here.

  2. on 17 Nov 2009 at 3:09 pm Marisa

    That salad looks super exotic. I had za’atar once before at a Lebanese restaurant, but the flavour was very overwhelming for me. I think it might’ve been just because such a lot of it was used… I’m very keen to try it again and your za’atar flatbreads look very inviting.

  3. on 17 Nov 2009 at 5:31 pm Admin

    Metro is in Sal’e, on the road to Meknes. You need a card to get in but just take your ID card or passport along and they’ll give you a day pass. There is some interesting things that you cant get elsewhere!

  4. on 19 Nov 2009 at 2:36 pm browniegirl

    Oh oh oooooh……..you know me and spices hehe!!! Your little breads look stunning girl. Hugs xxx

  5. on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:26 pm Travelingmama

    Wow! This looks FABULOUS!!

  6. on 20 Nov 2009 at 9:13 am arcadia

    I _love_ za’atar. Your flatbreads look delicious, definitely something I want to try. Tracking down sumac in South Africa is sadly a bit of a mission though.

  7. on 20 Nov 2009 at 11:27 am Jeanne

    Oh. Wow. That looks incredibly good – both the flatbreads and the colourful, sunny salad! The flatbreads I want to try IMMEDIATELY, the salad may have ot wait till the weather warms up. The Ottolenghi book is just the best, isn’t it? Gorgeous photos, as always!

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