I like to make this homemade za'atar recipe, instead of buying pre-made, so I have complete control over the final flavor, and to know that the herbs and spices are as fresh as possible. Freshness is flavor! When sourcing fresh spices, head to a store with bulk spice bins labeled with the stocking date to ensure freshness and purchase the exact amount you'll need.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the whole cumin and coriander seeds and toast, shaking frequently, until the seeds are golden brown and very fragrant, 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the cumin and coriander seeds to a mortar, then crush with a pestle until the seeds are pulverized.
Add the fresh thyme, sumac, and sea salt to the mortar. Grind with the pestle until all of the ingredients are roughly the same size.
Return the skillet to medium heat. Add teh sesame seeds to the skillet and toast, shaking frequently, until the seeds are golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
Add the sesame seeds to the cumin, coriander, thyme, sumac and salt. Stir to incorporate. Use immediately, or allow to cool completely and then store. Fresh, homemade za'atar can be stored in an airtight, lidded jar in your pantry for up to 2 months.
This recipe makes approximately half a cup of za'atar spice. A serving size represents about half a tablespoon.