Za'atar Schnitzel from Reem Kassis | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Za'atar Schnitzel

By Reem Kassis - Friend of Milk Street

Za'atar Schnitzel

"It feels almost too clichéd to include za’atar fried chicken in this book and call it Arab, but give this dish a chance. I grew up hearing my mother tout the benefits of za’atar for intelligence, and to this day she checks in and asks if I’ve fed my daughters za’atar. In an ironic twist of fate, I’m a cookbook author whose daughters don’t like food much. But I’ve found a way to get them to eat za’atar: I put it in their schnitzel! While this may be a very child-friendly dish, I challenge you to find an adult who won’t want a plate for themselves, too. There’s a reason, after all, that this dish of Austrian origin has a variation in most of the world’s cuisines from Japanese tonkatsu and Persian kotlet to Colombian chuleta and South American milanesa (yes, borrowed from the Italians) to of course good ol’ Southern fried chicken. The soy sauce may feel out of place to you, but it’s actually not far-fetched. Medieval Arabs used to make a condiment called murri from lumps of barley injected with mold spores, allowed to ferment for forty days, and then ground and mixed with water and salt before fermenting for another forty days. It tastes almost exactly like soy sauce and was often used to flavor meat dishes." — Friend of Milk Street Reem Kassis

Reprinted with permission from "The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World," by Reem Kassis (Phaidon, April 2021)


  • 3

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6–7 ounces/170–200 grams each)

  • 1

    teaspoon olive oil


  1. 01
    Clean the chicken breasts of any gristle, fat, or sinew and cut each breast into 4 strips.

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