What Lebanese food staples can you find in Sydney?
Lebanese food is full of aromatic spices, flavourful herbs, fresh produce and earthy grains, to name a few. The beautiful cuisine is known for favourites like smoky chargrilled lamb, bright flavours (thanks to sumac and lemon juice) and of course, creamy dips like the popular hommos, labneh and baba ghannouj. People around Sydney have fallen in love with Lebanese food, making the cuisine grow in popularity. This is shown in the number of restaurants in Sydney as well as the availability of classic Lebanese food staples.
The availability of Lebanese food staples in Sydney makes it much easier for anyone in love with Lebanese cuisine to infuse its flavour in their very own home cooking. The building blocks of Lebanese food are near and dear to the heart of Lebanese people and of course, our team at Zahli. If you’re interested in purchasing Lebanese ingredients or you’d like to know what ingredients our chefs cherish, then this article is for you. Find out what the most important ingredients in Lebanese pantries are.
6 Lebanese restaurant food staples you can find in Sydney
Sumac is a zesty and bright spice that adds a tang reminiscent of lemon juice to dishes. It can be substituted for lemon juice and is used in the popular Lebanese spice blend, za’atar. At Zahli, we use this spice in our dry rubs to add a more complex flavour to our meats. We also use it in our salad dressings for fattoush and our house salad, The Zahli.
Za’atar is a popular Middle-Eastern spice blend that is made up of dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and oregano. It can be used in a multitude of ways including sprinkled over labneh, salads or baked goods and used as a seasoning for meats and roasted veggies. One of the most popular ways to use za’atar is to mix it with olive oil and use it as a dip with Lebanese bread.
It’s no surprise that olive oil is on our list. It is used in almost every single dish at Zahli and in Lebanese cuisine. Olive oil is the main ingredient in our salad dressings and is used to top our hommos.
Tahini is at the centre of many popular dishes, including hommos. Tahini paste is made from ground sesame seeds. It adds a nutty flavour to dishes and aids in the creaminess of many dishes. In addition to hommos, tahini is a key ingredient in samki harra. At Zahli, we prepare our samki harra with a seared barramundi filled and top it with a spicy tahini sauce and roasted mixed nuts. We also use tahini in a sauce that’s served with our falafel, kafta and fried cauliflower.
Like many cuisines, garlic is a key ingredient in Lebanese and Middle Eastern food. It is added to almost every major dish such as foul, falafel, hommos and shish tawook. Garlic adds a flavour that cannot be replicated by any other and is key in a Lebanese kitchen. Perhaps most importantly is the use of garlic in our garlic condiment. A traditional Lebanese garlic condiment contains oil, garlic and lemon juice. These ingredients are blended until light, fluffy and creamy and served with dips. It is extremely garlicky without the sharp bite of raw garlic and is essential with almost every meal.
Another unsurprising ingredient is parsley. Parsley is known for being the main ingredient in tabbouli and a key ingredient in fattoush. We certainly pick parsley as the most important herb in Lebanese cuisine. It offers a fresh and bright punch to dishes and is often eaten like a salad leaf (in the case of tabbouli). At Zahli, we also use parsley in our mutabal, kafta and lemon garlic chicken. It’s a versatile herb that is key in every Lebanese restaurant.
We hope that our list of Lebanese staple ingredients helps you to understand a bit more of the flavours in Lebanese cuisine and what is stocked at our restaurant. If you are interested in indulging in authentic Middle-Eastern food then Zahli, Modern Middle Eastern restaurant can gladly provide a memorable meal. Zahli is here to provide you with a culinary experience like no other. Call us on (02) 9318 2228 to reserve a table or for pick-up orders.