Zaatar Chicken of Somalia

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I was thrilled to learn that Tucson has a Somalian market. Nur Market is a short drive away from our apartment, and I was in search for a very specific spice… Zaatar. I quickly learned Zaatar is actually a spice blend of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt. This ended up being a really simple dish to make; marinate the chicken in the spice blend and lemon juice, then cook it up! We served it with a cabbage salad, but there are other options for side dishes you could do. The website I found offered a variety of Somalian dishes – go to the Recipe Links page and check it out!

And unfortunately, we did remember to do quotes for this dish… But I do remember enjoying the spice blend and the novelty of its flavor. If you’re ever in need of changing up your everyday recipes, I highly recommend walking around any international market. You’ll find new ingredients, spices, and herbs that will make old recipes feel new and fun. Or pick up one new ingredient you’ve never cooked with and find a new recipe that uses it. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, I recommend checking out United Noodles in my old Seward neighborhood!

Ingredient List

  • Chicken
  • Zaatar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Lemon zest
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Somalia is Mogadishu
  • The official languages are Somali and Arabic
  • The Somali Civil War started in 1991 and continues to this day
  • According to research, 99.8% of the population in Somalia is Muslim. The only Catholic church (located in the capital) contained a reported 100 partitioners in 2004
  • Due to the strong presence of the Islam faith, food must be considered “halal” or “allowed” aka must abide to Islamic law. Though there is much cultural diversity across regions, this is standard across the nation. For example, pork and alcohol are not allowed according to Islamic law.

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