Za’atar is a very popular Middle Eastern condiment made from the dried herbs, mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac and other spices. Today we have a very interesting pilaf recipe which celebrates the amazing aromas of this awesome spice mixture !
My first welcome interaction with this amazing spice mixture happened way back in 2008 when i first traveled out of India. This was in Melbourne, Australia where i went for studying for a semester. During one of those “feeling adventurous days”, i ordered the only vegetarian thing available in my school’s cafe besides a questionable pasta dish (it is always difficult for vegetarians like me to find good food options outside of India). I ordered a salad.This was also my first greek salad ever and i was ecstatic to try it out. It smelled amazing. The platter had loads of greens with plum tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, olives, feta cheese crumbs and an olive oil vinaigrette with it. It was delicious but that was not the thing which got stuck in my head.. It was the Assorted Naans with Za’atar spice mixture on them. The best thing ever !!
I was instantly in Love with those naans! Unfortunately, i never got to try those naans again during my entire stay in Melbourne. Even today, of many good memories of that trip, this one lunch keeps coming back to me 🙂 Unlucky for me, i was not able to grab the name of that spice mixture then and i could try making them any time soon.
But i got lucky when i moved to Canada. Here, in Montreal, there is this one Middle eastern grocery store called “MARCHE LOBO” which is minutes away from my house and is really awesome in terms of their green stock and spice mixtures. I often go there. During one such grocery shopping days, my eyes gazed upon this stack of freshly baked naans which looked exactly like the ones i had in Australia. Without any Ado, i grabbed some naans and asked the shop manager about the spice mixture which the naans were laced with. It was such a happy moment for me. I had finally found Za’atar again !! I now am a proud owner of a 500 gms packet which i use for making naans pretty often. It goes really well with my Hummus 🙂
This time, i have a rice recipe to share ! This is my twisted version of Greek pilaf with the proteins, the flavours and the subtle, aromatic spice mixture… weaved and twined into a beautiful, harmonious Pilaf 🙂
Za’atar Spiced Wild Mushroom Rice
Za'atar spiced wild mushroom rice
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 tsp butter
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup wild mushroom, roughly chopped
- 50 gms firm tofu, cut into half inch squares
- 50 gms za’atar all spice
- Salt to taste
- 12- 15 pine nuts, toasted
- 50 gms feta cheese, roughly chopped
This recipe is divided into 2 components : Salted Brown Rice and Za’atar spiced vegetables
Salted Brown Rice
- Wash the rice in a bowl and soak it in water for half in hour.
- Now, to cook the rice, take 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter and put it in a pan. Bring to heat and let the butter melt.
- Next, add in the brown rice and toast till the rice is lightly toasted. The rice will start to leave a light nutty aroma.
- Once the rice is roasted, add in 2.25 cups of water and 1 tsp salt and let the rice come to a boil.
- After the water boils, simmer and put on a lid. Let it cook till the rice is done. This should take about 15 minutes.
Za’atar spiced vegetables –
While the rice cooks, we will prepare the vegetables.
- Take a pan. To this, add in 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter and let the butter melt.To this, add in the tofu pieces and fry on medium high so that the tofu will be lightly toasted. Once done, remove and keep aside.
- Now add in the onions and garlic to the pan and cook on medium flame for about 5 minutes. The medium flame will not let the onions and garlic burn and it will just get soft and translucent.
- Next, add in the chopped mushrooms and let it saute for 5 minutes. Now add in the za’atar and mix well. Keep aside.
Once the rice is done, add the za’atar spiced vegetables and mix gently. The Za’atar Spiced Wild Mushroom Rice is done. To serve, add in the toasted pine nuts and sprinkle feta cheese.
Enjoy this amazing Pilaf with a big bowl of grated cucumber yoghurt or try my all time favorite – Tzatziki. This is such a quick dish to whip out and charm your beloved with something new and interesting but with subtle and earthen flavours !
Its like you got all things amazing in a bowl 🙂 Recreate the magic at your place and pamper your senses today !!
Taking this delicious main course to the Virtual Vegan linky Potluck
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