Lebanese Pantry Inspiration

Pan fried Mackerel on Grilled Aubergine with Tahini-Sumac dressing

Lebanese pantry inspiration: Sumac, Tahini, Pine Nuts & Mint

I’m of Welsh origin, but for some reason I have a real affinity for middle-eastern flavours.  I drizzle tahini paste on just about everything, in fact I have to stop myself from buying it regularly to give my taste buds (and stomach) a break.  So when I saw that in order to win a culinary taste tour of Lebanon I had to blog a Lebanese pantry inspired dish I just had to enter the competition.  I can only imagine how culturally interesting and different life in Lebanon is from life here in London and would love to explore the country as well as taste all that yummy food I love.

Here’s my take on a a very simple aubergine salad dish, topped with a crispy pan-fried mackerel fillet.  I have taken four staple ingredients from a Lebanese pantry – sumac, tahini, fresh mint and pine nuts.

This was the first time I have used sumac in a recipe on the blog, and since discovering it just  few weeks ago I have been avidly flavouring lots of my dishes with it.  Sumac spice is a derived from the dried-berries of the sumac bush, and is deep red in colour.  It is a often paired with lemon and and adds a citrus-y tang, which goes fantastically well with meat and fish.  I am particularly loving dusting it on top of scrambled eggs for breakfast – it gives a really tasty, pretty and interesting tang to a simple dish.

I served my aubergine topped with mackerel for 1 as a paleo main dish, however you could serve the aubergines alone as a side dish for 2, along with something else  – depending on how hungry you are of course…

Lebanese pantry inspiration: Sumac, Tahini, Pine Nuts & Mint

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 medium sized aubergine, sliced into pieces the thickness of a £1 coin
  • Tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of Tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon of Argan oil  (or olive oil will do)
  • 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • ½ tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Tsp Sumac
  • Pinch good quality salt
  • 1 mackerel filleted
  • Fresh mint to scatter


  • Heat some olive oil on a griddle pan, and cook the aubergine slices until they are browned on both sides.  This should typically take around 10-15 minutes in total.
  • In a separate pan lightly toast the pine nuts and set aside.
  • Whilst the aubergine is cooking, make up the dressing.   Whisk together the tahini paste with the Argan oil, warm water, lemon juice, garlic and sumac.  Depending on the brand of tahini paste you may need to add more or use less water to get the consistency you desire.  Set aside.
  • When the auberinge is all done, layer on a plate an in the pic below, drizzle over the dressing & scatter with the pine nuts.  If you’re happy to eat the salad cold this could be done way in advance.  Don’t put the mint on until you are ready to eat though.
  • When you’re ready to eat, take a large frying pan, and heat a little oil in the pan, till its sizzling hot (top tip:  the hotter the pan the less it will stick, which is helpful to know if you are not using flour as an anti-sticking agent to dust the fillets).  Put the mackerel skin side down into the hot pan  – you may need keep it flat with a fish slice, and cook for 3 minutes or until the skin is crispy, flip over and cook for another few minutes until the fish is done.
  • Place the mackerel on top of the aubergines and scatter the fresh mint on top.

Lebanese pantry inspiration: Sumac, Tahini, Pine Nuts & Mint

The competition is being organised by Bethany of Dirty Kitchen Secrets  and Taste Lebanon tours (whom I met at Food Blogger Connect this year).  Why don’t you enter too?

7 thoughts on “Lebanese Pantry Inspiration

  1. Pingback: This Week, I’ve Been Mostly Eating… | Priceless Paintings from W7

  2. Pingback: Herring Rillettes in Romaine | Natural Kitchen Adventures

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