Middle Eastern spices are a true gift. Every couple of months I feel like I’m introduced to a new gem and I become obsessed – Sumac is my latest obsession.
For those not familiar with sumac, it is a savoury spice native to the middle east and comes from the dark red berries of the sumac bush which are dried and ground. The reason it is so incredible is because it has a tangy lemon flavour. It’s not as tart as lemon though and offers a more balanced flavour but given its lemony qualities, if you are new to using it you can experiment with it anywhere you might use lemon. As a result, it is great with fish, chicken, salads.. the list is endless.
It is great because it can be used in a myriad of dry rubs where you feel a lemon note would benefit. Indeed, it is a key flavour in a Middle Eastern za’atar spice mix.
I grew up with my mother making ribs under the grill in the oven (in the US its called broiling) and it’s a very Italian thing to do to serve up gorgeous flavourful ribs in record time. Mum would marinate the ribs first using Italian flavours, but thinking about how wonderful sumac is, I thought it would be great to make oven grilled ribs using sumac. A sauce was definitely in order to pair with these flavourful ribs, so using some white tahini paste and continental parsley, I created a parsley tahini sauce to serve with the ribs.
These Sumac Lamb Ribs with Parsley Tahini are definitely a new rib favourite of mine and given how easy and tasty they are, its become a great midweek meal in our household.
Sumac Ribs with Parsley Tahini Sauce
- 500g lamb breast riblets
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons yoghurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Parsley Tahini Sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1/2 packed cup continental parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pop the garlic, oil, yoghurt and sugar in a small food processor and puree until it is combined and smooth. Add the sumac, paprika, chilli flakes and sea salt flakes and pulse till combined. Transfer to a bowl and add the ribs. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or as long as possible.
To make the sauce, combine tahini, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, water and salt in a food processor and blend till creamy. You may need to pause and scrape down the sides a couple of times as the tahini can be hard to incorporate. If you need more water to reach the desired consistency, feel free to add it.
Preheat the grill of your oven (in the US this is called broiling) then place the ribs flesh side facing the grill/broiler on a foil lined tray. Grill for 5 minutes each side until the ribs are golden.
Remove from the oven and serve with the parsley tahini sauce.
Helen | Grab Your Fork says
I have such a weak spot for lamb ribs although they can come across a little bit fatty. The parsley tahini sounds like a perfect foil 😀
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This is incredibly creative! I am passing it on to so many of my friends! I have never seen sumac here (in the States)…. Now I will be on the hunt! I am sure that this will also be just as good with both pork and chicken!
You are amazing, Amanda! Thank you, so much.
Sara | Belly Rumbles says
I am loving the look of the parsley tahini sauce :p The ribs……… meh, but it’s me not you. I can see every lamb lover rejoicing at being served these beauties 🙂 I know the boys would love you to whip some up for them.
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Kevin | Keviniscooking says
You know I love me some Middle Eastern flavors and this looks outstanding. Fantastic combination for the sauce Amanda. Pinned this one!
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John/Kitchen Riffs says
Sumac is good stuff. But for some reason I haven’t used it in what seems like forever! In fact I just checked — I’m out, and need to get some so I can make this. Really good stuff — thanks!
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Sweet and Savoury Pursuits says
Love the idea of adding sumac to lamb, I’m sure it’s delicious together. Also love how you combined the parsley and tahini together to make a blended sauce, I’ll have to try that sometime!
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Geoff Applegate says
Lovely photographs Amanda. You should give up your day job and do it as a business. Best wishes.
Geoff and Sue
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
I LOVE sumac as well! I’ve been cooking a lot out of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook lately, and it’s definitely heavy on sumac. These ribs look delicious!
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Julia (@Imagelicious) says
The photos look amazing! I’m sure it’s delicious, I can almost taste it. I’ve never had lamb ribs before nor have I seen them anywhere, so I don’t think I’ll be able to try your delicious recipe, but I really wish I could!
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OMG.. the sauce.. I just want it on my fingers. The only ribs I can eat are Lamb ones so this is right up my ally.
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Sumac and smoked paprika are some of my favorite spices. I love the bold flavor combinations here. This looks great.
I’m so inspired to go get Sumac! These ribs are absolutely gorgeous and I’m sure incredibly delicious. Your photography is always truly stunning!
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Sumac is not easy to get in Dallas (Texas). We love our lamb ribs for sure. This recipe looks delectable.
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Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health says
Amanda, your photography is just amazing!!!!! i love lamb but dont eat it too often.
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Oriana @Mommyhood's Diary says
I haven’t try Sumac but these ribs look absolutely amazing! And only 5 minutes per side? I’m in!!
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These are gorgeous!! I am obsessed with Sumac, so I know I will like these 🙂
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The Hungry Mum says
I can imagine smothering that sexy tahini on all sorts of meals – and I reckon it would be perfect as a dressing for a hearty salad.
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John - heneedsfood says
The last time I made something with lamb ribs I was a little put off by the amount of fat they had. Great flavour, but I just wanted more meat! Next time I’ll ask the butcher for the more meaty ones.
Your spice of choice is ideal for lamb. Cuts through the richness, and fattiness, and gives you that wonderful zing at the same time. Yum!
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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
I love sumac and I’m always looking for new ways to use it. I’ve also never cooked lamb ribs but I can’t wait to give this recipe a go!
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I made these and would recommend doubling the marinade amount. We could barely taste it! And the cooking time is off, we ended up baking them in the oven for an hour, lamb ribs are very fatty so the fat needs time to render off. Also the recipe doesn’t mention chilli flakes but the directions do, I added a teaspoon but there was no heat so you could add plenty more.