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.