Zait and Zatter Done Right

Hobez–real Arab bread–is made without preservatives and only keeps a day or two. In fact, only on the first day is it fresh enough to be truly delicious. People who buy their pita bread from Jewel or from the bakery section at Pete’s Fresh Market are missing out on the best, and the simplest bread in the world. (okay there’s umpteen zillions types of Indian nan, but…)

Now that I have refrigeration I have made the trip to the Arab neighborhood some 40 minutes away for some hobez خبز I can keep in the freezer. And yesterday I finished replacing all the two-prong outlets in my new place with three prong outlets and can walk through the place without tripping over extension cords. Now I can have proper zait and zatter زيت و زعتر (olive oil with thyme mixture) hot from the toaster oven. With mint tea. شاي نعناع (shai na na)
zait and zattr

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3 Responses to “Zait and Zatter Done Right”

  1. Essie Says:

    Where can I buy Green Jordanina Zattr? Thanks

  2. Nijma Says:

    Essie , I buy it at the local Arab grocery or bakery. The brand I have now is from Habash Trading Inc in Bedford Park Illinois, but they don’t seem to have a website. The package looks like this.

    Here is one mail order place in Massachusetts.

    If you ever get into Chicago, there is a strip of Arab merchants on Harlem Avenue between 123rd and 87th on the South Side and another on the North Side on Kedzie around 45th. On the South Side, one strip mall just east of Harlem on 87th has a bunch of Arab shops the grocery there is is Al-Amal Grocery & Bakery (7289 W 87th St). Just south of the huge 95th street intersection is a most excellent bakery (that often has date filled loaves in the shape of a huge bear claw) on the west side of the street. Further down just past 111th on the west side of the street is the Emir grocery, now with a sign that says “Judy”, and what used to be the best mansaf restaurant in Chicago. Further south at 123rd, opposite the Radio Shack is another grocery next to a restaurant combo, the strip mall is a little hard to see from the street but is just west of the intersection on the north west corner. There are numerous other smaller establishments. The restaurant/grocery shop situation is always changing and you pretty much have to go there to see who is still in business.

  3. Nijma Says:

    There is also a plant called “zatter”. It’s just thyme. The green leaves are used to make tea (with a little sugar to even out the medicinal taste) and it’s used for colds. A small caset shai (tea glass the size of an expresso cup) of thyme tea will give a very gentle decongestant effect for maybe two hours.


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