Acidic spice makes the eyes pop and the buds come to life. Think tamarind, pomegranate molasses and dessert lime.
But as delicious as that zing is, it’s also distracting. Which is why I’m so in love with sumac.
Sumac is gentle, salted, shadowed acidity. As a ground dried berry she offers up softer acidic characteristics that engage the mouth, but also leave room for other flavours to shine through. Though native to Middle Eastern cuisine, she pairs beautifully with curry leaf and gently fragrant fish curries. As a rule, sumac makes anything with salt and pepper better from rump steak to chargrilled zucchini.
When it comes to fish, sumac is a perfect match. Lemon and lime can strip back subtle flavours of the sea. Sumac does the opposite - she lifts and helps the subtle notes of spice applied to spice shine through.
With these fish fritters, I use sumac in the cook. You can use her to finish, too.
Sumac top tips
• Sumac has a degree of recessed salt flavour, so think about this when considering salt quantities in any dish you use her - she’ll increase the appearance of sodium.
• To increase the acidity of sumac, pair her with amchur in any dish requiring more acidity.
• Adding sumac closer to the end of the cook will help to retain its intensity.