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Gail Johnson, Vancouver BC

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Discovering sumac and za'taar

June 14, 2014

Foodies take note: sumac could make a terrific addition to your herb selection. Executive chef Karan Suri recently touched down at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport's Globe@YVR, and he's introducing food lovers here to exciting new flavours. 

 

Born in India and having worked in Africa and Dubai, Suri draws on all sorts of exotic influences for his sophisticated but comforting dishes.

Derived from the berry of the Rhus coriaria plant, sumac has a sour edge, a bit like hibiscus. Sumac can be used on its own, but it's also a key ingredient in za'taar, which is a blend of Mediterranean spices; Suri adds wild marjoram to his, a mix that can embolden meat and fish. 

From fish tacos with a dehydrated-potato breading to fingerling potatoes seared with bacon to accompany succulent sablefish, Suri's stuff is worth a trek out to YVR even if you're not flying anywhere. 

 


When you see that kind of creativity at work in a kitchen, it can inspire you to do more, try more, in your own. 

 

Photos from top: beet five ways with goat cheese and walnuts; fish tacos with jalapeno aioli; sablefish with fennel soil; seared scallop with duck confit and aged balsamic.

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           Gail Johnson
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