I still remember when I first had this dish. My friends and I were invited over to one of our closest friends’ house. She lived on a ground floor apartment that had a small garden attached to it. There was enough space for us to have brunch and that’s where I tasted “salata za’tar” (Thyme salad) for the first time. It was soooo good I could still taste it and smell it, more than 10 years later. Syrian thyme looks similar to rosemary since its leaves are think and long , but tastes and smells like thyme. She sprinkled it with tons of thyme and sumac powder that made me crave for more. Think white onions slices decorated the salad and crumbled feta cheese made the finish. I wish I had a photo of it. What I have now if my version of the same salad with an extra ingredient, green olives from Nablus, Palestine.
Whether you’re having yabrak (rolled vine leaves), mjadarah (bulgur or rice and lentil dish), or maqloobeh (upside down eggplant and rice dish), you will want to have njoomiyeh on the side. It’s a quick and easy Mediterranean recipe.
All my life, I asked my mom to make me the yogurt with cucumbers side dish. And that’s exactly what I used to call it. Yogurt and cucumber with garlic thingy. Until, one day, my niece, Salwa, said: “tete (Syrian for grandma) can you make us njoomiyeh?” I had never heard anyone call it like that before, but I’ve been calling it njoomiyeh ever since.