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Are there any good substitutions for ground sumac?

I made fattoush last week, but had no sumac since my local grocery did not carry it and I had no time to go to a specialty grocery. Are there any decent substitutes for sumac?

asked by caroline_kuhn about 4 years ago
12 answers 139307 views
25438297 7c5f 449f 85c8 6d14e78bbcc4  susan.streit
boozeandsusan

Susan is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added about 4 years ago

I've heard Jamie Oliver, on his show Jamie at Home, suggest fresh lemon juice in place of ground sumac for his Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs.

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added about 4 years ago

Thank you! I do love Jamie Oliver. I heard sumac simply lends a sour taste to the dish, so that makes perfect sense!

2f4926e2 248b 4c22 a6f7 8f2d888b8488  3 bizcard
sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 4 years ago

If I am out of sumac I sometimes mix ground black pepper with lemon zest and you get a similar flavor. it is peppery and lemony sometimes I add just a dash of paprika to the mix also.

0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef
Reiney

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 4 years ago

Aleppo pepper might also be a sub (though it's found next to the sumac, so if you can't access one, you probably can't access the other!)

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

FYI unintended side effect (minor in the great scheme of things) of the current Syrian war is a shortage of Aleppo pepper.

549d9fb3 53ef 4170 b68e 8bae2e055be7  dsc 0048b
added over 1 year ago

most places had been selling Turkish "Aleppo" pepper for a while before too. You can get Maras in many middle eastern markets and it's almost the same taste.

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added over 1 year ago

I use Coriander, it's really the citrus acidity your looking for and while Coriander is a bit more herbal it's got a similar lemony/citrus kick.

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added 11 months ago

I propose grinding dry hibiscus flower (known as Jamaica in México)
The first time I tasted Sumac i thought it was A milder variety of Jamaica.
I have to say that is just a thought that I never tried because not many recipes call for sumac.
I will try it as a topping on jasmine or basmanti rice. I love the persian rice (yellow an white) topped with Sumac at the only Persian restaurant I frequent

4e44c326 7cc2 42c2 8c1f e55e60b8bb30  image
added 11 months ago

Zatar has sumac in it and for fattoush it would be perfect. I use lemon zest and oregano as a substitute for Zatar. I do not taste any heat in sumac or Zatar. Aleppo pepper is available at Penzeys as well as sumac and Zatar. I love to sprinkle Aleppo on my Italian pasta sauce for a very light heat kick.

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 11 months ago

Agree with you about not tasting heat in sumac, rather a sour counterpoint.
Depending on the dish - and in addition to the ammchur, lemon juice & lemon zest already mentioned - consider sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar or tamarind paste.
Last, for similar texture and warmth (but not the sourness), consider a pinch of cinnamon along with the other substitutes.

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DM
added 11 months ago

I just wanted to add that some people who have even very mild pollen allergy have a pretty strong allergic reaction to sumac. And obviously, many people do great with it. You might want to tell guests this, then at least if they start having a reaction, they'll know what's up.