Gitto’s Damascus chicken wings

We went on holiday to Syria in March, before the country fell apart more or less, and felt very lucky that we got to visit before everything took a turn for the worst, but you also feel a bit guilty for it. We got to experience the lovely country and then just left and went back home, and didn’t have to deal with what came next.

It is terrible what is happening in the Middle East and I certainly don’t want to belittle all that. But. I did fall in love with the country and especially its food, and that is why I want to share this great recipe with you.

The most wonderful spice blend I got to taste in Syria was za’atar that is very popular all over the Middle East. It is a spice blend consisting of thyme and sesame seeds mainly, and as all other blends it can taste very different depending on the specific ratios. The one we tried and bought from a whole saler in Damascus was just fabulous and something I really treasure since we got back.

And when I saw that a Swedish food blogger had come up with chicken wings with za’atar I just couldn’t resist trying it.

It was very unusual, I bet you, just like me, think of chicken wings and chilli sauce, not za’atar. But this was new and fresh and together with a lovely feta dip this was a great weekday treat.

The original recipe is in Swedish only, so my translation follow below:

Damscus chicken wings, serves 2

400 g chicken wings

70 g or so of ciftlik paneer (or proper feta)

100 ml milk

a few mint leaves

100 ml za’atar

100 ml olive oil

vegetable oil for deep-frying

1/2 cucumber

Turn the oven on 75C. Split the chicken wings by the joint. Place in a colander. Pour a litre of boiling water over the wings and then place them on a wire rack with a baking tray underneath. Let them crisp up in the oven for 40 minutes.

Mix cheese and milk and add the mint. Mix za’atar and olive oil in a bowl. Cut the cucumber into batons. Deep-fry the chicken wings in 180C oil until nice and golden, for about 6-7 minutes. Fry in batches and place on kitchen towel. Mix the chicken wings with the za’atar mixture and dig in.

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