Sumac: The Secret Ingredient to Punch up Party Dips

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Whether I'm serving hummus, baba ghanoush, or even onion dip, I often top it with a sprinkle of red sumac. It makes a plain dip prettier and has guests asking, "What is this?" (in a good way, of course!). 

Ground sumac has a tart, zingy flavor — lemony but more complex than lemons, and without the acidity. Although it's a classic Middle Eastern spice, sumac needn't be limited to dishes from the region. As a garnish, it adds color and zest to bowls of the aforementioned baba ghanoush and hummus as well as guacamole, artichoke dip, onion dip, white bean dip, and more. 

People who aren't terribly familiar with this spice are often quite curious when they see and taste it, so it's also a good conversation starter for gatherings! 

Related: Ingredient Spotlight: Sumac

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel