Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, and other aromatic herbs. A staple in Lebanese and Syrian kitchens, this versatile condiment has a tangy, bright, and earthy flavor profile that elevates even the simplest of ingredients; try mixing it with olive oil and spreading on fresh pita for an addictive, three-ingredient flatbread or use it as a seasoning for everything from hummus to vegetables.
Blended into a flour rub, za’atar lends wonderful, unexpected fusion flavor to tofu. As it cooks, the flour coating transforms into a golden brown crust flecked with sesame seeds from the za’atar. Try these tofu triangles as an appetizer, served over a salad, or in a sandwich for a fresh take on tofu bánh mì.
Additional notes: You will probably have some of the za’atar flour rub left over. While you can store it for future use, I usually mix it with what is left of the tofu marinade to form a dough and cook it in the pan after the tofu is done for a makeshift frybread.
For the tofu and marinade
soy sauce or liquid aminos
coconut oil (or other high-heat oil) for frying, or enough to fill bottom of pan
Drain tofu. Slice into ½ inch thick squares and then diagonally into triangles. Mix soy sauce, ginger, and cayenne in a container. Add tofu and refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
On a flat dish, combine dry ingredients for za’atar flour rub.
Remove tofu from marinade and add to the dish a few at a time to coat the pieces with the flour mix. Then repeat, double dipping each triangle in the rub.
Heat coconut oil in a pan until hot. Add tofu to the oil and fry the first side until golden brown; then flip and repeat on the other side. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and then transfer to a serving dish.