What is sumac?

On the menu this week you will find a vegetarian starter of roast pumpkin & goats cheese salad, with a pumpkin seed dressing, sesame seed tuille and sumac, so today we ask what exactly is sumac?

is a tangy, lemony spice often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking

Sumac (Assyrian Neo-Aramaic: ܣܘܼܡܵܩܵܐ‎, translit. summāqāʾ, lit. 'red, red shift, turning red', Arabic: سمّاق‎, translit. summāq; /ˈsjuːmæk/, /ˈʃuːmæk/ or /ˈsuːmæk/; also spelled sumach, sumaq) is any one of about 35 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. The dried and powdered fruits are used as a spice in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine. Sumacs grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in East Asia, Africa and North America.

Sumacs are shrubs and small trees that can reach a height of 1–10 m. The leaves are spirally arranged; they are usually pinnately compound, though some species have trifoliate or simple leaves. The flowers are in dense panicles or spikes 5–30 cm (2.0–11.8 in) long, each flower very small, greenish, creamy white or red, with five petals. The fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs. The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy crimson spice.

With its citrusy tanginess sumac is a perfect addition to our roast pumpkin and goats cheese salad - try it as a starter on the lunch and pre-theatre menus this week.

View menus and book here.

Sources: www.bbc.co.uk/food/sumac and Wikipedia