A-Z of Ingredients: Z


An introduction to the varied ingredients of Lebanese food, starting with the letter A, as taken from our second cookbook.




Za’atar can cause a little confusion. It’s the term for the Middle Eastern spice mix made from a heady combination of herbs, spices and seeds; however, it’s also the name of a herb itself. As with so much of Middle Eastern cooking, there are many regional variations. Its uses are limitless: it can be sprinkled over food on its own, stirred into dips or through rice, or massaged over chicken or meat as a dry rub. In Lebanon it’s strongly associated with the breakfast table, where it’s used in both a sweet and a savoury context. Although there are some good ready-prepared versions available, nothing really compares to making your own — it’s so easy to do and you can adjust the levels of each flavour according to your own preferences. Our version at Comptoir is made by toasting 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until just golden. Tip into a mortar and add 1/2 teaspoon of sumac and 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, marjoram and oregano with a good pinch of sea salt. Pound with the pestle until everything is well ground. Store in an airtight container and use within a month.



A-Z of Ingredients: M

An introduction to the varied ingredients of Lebanese food, as taken from our second cookbook. Mezze Eating food at Comptoir, as in Lebanon, is all about sharing, and the way we do that is by having lots of small dishes on the table at once so that everyone can try a spoonful from different dishes […]


A-Z of Ingredients: L

An introduction to the varied ingredients of Lebanese food, as taken from our second cookbook.   Labneh Labneh is found across the Middle East. It is yoghurt that has had most of its liquid strained until it is almost as thick as cream cheese (how thick it becomes will depend on how long you strain it […]