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Apr 19, 2009


sandi @ the whistlestop cafe

This just beats all~ I have never heard of sumac as a spice... Only as the vine that makes me itch like crazy.
Surely it isn't the same thing.
Now the pistachio part sounds like a winner!


Now I wish I had picked up the sumac last time I was visiting Borough Market. The coating sounds fantastic.


This is the first time I've heard of sumac - it does sound like a wonderful coating.

I try and make bread crumbs whenever I have some slightly dry bread knocking about. I just whizz it up in the food processor and freeze it in bags. The crumbs aren't so fine as they might be, but they are a whole lot better than the fake tan ones.


Thank you Johanna I will try this it sounds good. Perhaps it is a Middle Eastern cousin of gremolata? Please don't be afraid of blogging about little tricks and tips you have picked up, or simple recipes, or ones without a picture. Maybe it's because I'm old and am used to words on their own, but most of my most valued cookbooks have few or no photos, and are none the worse for that. I value my really favourite cookery writers, Marcella Hazan, Simon Hopkinson, and others as much or more for the little tips and tricks they have told me, as anything else. A really good recipe, which becomes part of your repertoire, you may use say a dozen times or maybe more, but if you can teach me a better way to slice an onion, or sharpen my knives, or peel potatoes, you make every day I cook a little better. So don't worry about occasionally imparting a little basic information, it can stimulate as much interest and debate as anything else.

I live in Brighton, and we are fortunate in having a good French bakery here ( ). They bake real (absolutely delicious!) baguettes, which of course do not contain any fat, so they dry out very quickly and completely and do not go mouldy. I always have a few unfinished dried out baguettes in a cupboard and blitz a portion whenever I need bread crumbs. Because they contain no fat they make highly absorbent, excellent bread crumbs.


Hi Johanna, did you toast the bread before making it into crumbs?

I'm old, but like James, can always learn. It is interesting how something that you take for granted is not common knowledge.

BTW Greg Malouf(author of turqouise) celebrated his 50th birthday yesterday. Onto his third heart, I believe - not through bad eating, drinking etc.

Australia was set up by convicts, so we're happy to steal what we can - it's in our blood ! ;)



I didn't toast the slices before crumbing, although you could. I have since made them another time where I had to use bread out of the freezer and in that case I did pop them in the toaster first to defrost more than anything.

You know, it's funny you should say that Australia steals wherever they can, Austria was NOT built by convicts, but we pilfered pretty much all that makes our "national" cuisine in countried that once belonged to the Austrian Empire. And I am more than happy to admit that, so I hold no grudge. A little mention of the source wouldn't have hurt, though ;-)

I am fortunate enough to own a Thermomix, so making breadcrumbs has become the easiest thing ever - it takes no more than a few seconds! I think it also makes the breadcrumbs taste so much better because I use my own sourdough loaves as well, and occasionally some seeded loaves - they might not be "pure" breadcrumbs,but they're so much tastier!!!


I picked up my first bag of sumac (and lots of other wonderfully exotic spices) at a workshop with Herbie's spices (Australian) at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. I wouldn't be surprised if Sainsbury's or Waitrose were going to introduce it to their range soon, though, seing that Sumac seems to enjoy a meteoric growth at the moment... Sainsbury's sometimes do Achiote now, which could be a good substitute, btw. it's also got that tangy feel to it.
Let me know it I can send you some sumac, though, it would be a pleasure!

Gourmet Chick

I am a fan of anything with pistachio in it so this sounds great. I agree that some things I think are just not blogworthy but then some of the simplest things people seem the most interested in...


I bought some sumac recently and I had only used it in one recipe when a small kitchen accident led the jar of sumac to smash and the sumac to blow in every direction on the floor. :(


haven't cooked with sumac but it is easy to get as I live in a part of Melbourne with lots of middle eastern stores so I should - no excuse - especially as this looks fantastic!

I am used to making my own breadcrumbs for nut roasts - in fact I quite like making them with nice sourdough and rye breads for extra flavour but I do have some dried stuff in the pantry for easy crumbs.


That looks good, really colourful and different!


Johanna, how wonderful!I'm absolutely in love with Turkish cuisine, I actually just returned from an Istanbul food trip.Yesterday I was leafing through this wonderful cookbook and I actually bookmarked exactly this recipe:)viele Grüsse aus Budapest, Zsofi


Mmm this looks fantastic - I've heard of but never cooked with sumac. But I do love crispy crumbed stuff so this is definitely one to try!

African Vanielje

Johanna, know exactly where you are on pics v. recipes. My posts get further and further apart when I think, do I really have anything to say? Or do I have the time to put together anything that anyone wants to read. That being said, no soft boiled eggs or double chins in sight. Your chicken looks gorgeous, and whilst I must admit I have always made my own breadcrumbs whenever I've needed them, I am stumped on the Sumac. Heard the word, but clueless as to what it is. Just off to do some research.


Hi there! I love your blog, but I must say, I'm not sure I entirely agree with you in regards to your theory on what's "blog worthy". Though I understand that for you and I (people who are generally well versed in the kitchen) the perfect boiled egg, or a basic bread crumb coating might be second nature and not that inspiring. But, for someone just learning to cook, or trying to get back into the kitchen (rough economy, not as much money for take-out), it might be the simple recipe they need to make cooking more approachable. I love your recipes though, so in the end good choices (as far as I'm concerned!).

Susan from Food Blogga

I guess the "blog-worthiness" depends on the author and the readers. As far as this recipe goes, it's definitely blog-worthy.


This recipe sounds great! I have been eager to try one of your Turkish-inspired posts, and bought chicken today for another use. Instead I will try this, and even get to use my Sumac.

Scott at Realepicurean

Your photographs are really fantastic - I love how you contrast colours to make the photo more interesting.

Must learn from this!

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