Sumac Turkey


Just when you thought you’d had enough of turkey, along comes an irresistible, tangy turkey recipe.  If you’re not familiar with sumac, it’s a very common spice in the Middle East, where sumac berries grow.  To prepare the spice, the berries are dried and crushed to a deep purple-red powder.  One of the things I like best about cooking with sumac is that it not only has a wonderful flavor, it also adds rich color to a dish.

The flavor of sumac is hard to describe.  If I had to choose one word to explain the flavor of sumac, I would say tangy, but tangy alone doesn’t quite describe it, neither does tart.   There is a very subtle hint of sweetness in sumac, and I think that’s why it works so well in cooking.  The hint of sweetness offsets the tanginess so it isn’t overwhelming.  In cooking, sumac is often paired with lemon juice, as in this dish.  But don’t worry, it’s not overly tart! In Middle Eastern cooking you’ll find sumac used as a seasoning for grilled fish, grilled vegetables, chicken, salads, couscous, hummus, and even cheese.  In short, sumac works well with just about everything.

If sumac is not available in your local store, try a Middle Eastern market, or buy it online.

(7 votes, average: 4.14 out of 5)
Sumac Turkey


  • 2 pounds turkey meat cut into strips
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the lemon juice, sumac, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Press the garlic, using a garlic press, into the bowl and mix.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high flame. Add the turkey and fry, stirring occasionally until the turkey starts to brown.
  3. Add the mixture and cook covered, stirring occasionally until the mixture is mostly reduced, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from flame and serve.

Yield: 4

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