shuna lydon

looking for something particular?

  • Google


Become a Fan

Bookmark and Share

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2005

« The Dessert Guessing Game, by Rachel Cole | Main | Opening A Restaurant: dessert menu testing. »

17 October 2007


mastic is truly remarkable, though it is impossible to get off of whisks and pots. I would recommend a mastic specific pot or make your infusions sous vide.

as for what to pair it with: pineapple, green olives, lemon shortbread, gingerbread, yogurt, lime leaves, quince...mastic poached quince now that would be delicious.

Rosemary-hazelnut-caramel for me please!!! I think I'm obsessed with rosemary in the sweet courses...which is funny because I'm not her biggest fan when in the savory.
I've been intrigued by Angelika for a while now, but have never tried it. What is it like?

I have a little packet in my pantry that I have been meaning to use. But it's small and often is lost in the pantry and also falls off of my mental to do list.

Perhaps this weekend.

I have a very small container of mastic in my pantry. Honest to God, this is my plan: to buy some food-grade paraffin and see if I can make something resembling chewing gum, because that's what I heard it was originally used for.

From experience: I don't like it in pastry. I am willing to try it in ice cream.

How funny... I just got a package of mastic in the mail a few days ago. I also bought a package of mastic gum just to see what the stuff tasted like. It's very unusual and intriguing. I'll probably try using it in a traditional Greek or Turkish dish. Scoring some real, unadulterated sahlab/sahlep powder is my next obscure culinary goal.

I used to work in a Malaysian restaurant in Los Angeles where they made their own durian ice cream. Stunk up the whole kitchen when it was being made, but oh, it was delicious.

Mmm, fennel. I made a cupcake with chopped fennel, pears, and then soaked it with star anise syrup and topped it with more caramelized pears. My god. So good.

Still Mastic... what does it smell like? Taste like? Everyone says it smells sweet but, Shuna, give me more! =)

Oh and I forgot to say...
Elizabeth Falkner seems to be obsessed with this too...she has a blurb in her new's called "The M Word."


You got that right. I joked that the mastic needs it's very own dedicated spice grinder! But I did get it all to dissolve in an amazing amount of dairy so I didn't see any residue anywhere else...


I know little of Angelika. I have had the candied stuff which mostly tastes of sugar. You ask your people and I'll ask mine and maybe we'll get to the bottom of Angelika and its uses...

Marc! Do tell us what you made with it. it's terrific indeed-- but extremely powerful-- beware!


By the next time you come in with the lads you will indeed be able to try the ice cream version. I think I did a good job-- considering it was my very first time. But you all will be the judge of that I imagine.


"Scoring some real, unadulterated sahlab/sahlep powder is my next obscure culinary goal."



Yes, Durian isn't near as bad as processing tripe. I like the flavor in fact, it's the texture that's a bit creepy for me.


Mastic smells faintly of that which it tastes of: a pine forest. If you like Gin you might like Mastic-- although it runs on the bitter side so it needs to be tempered with something like honey to soften its bite.

Isn't there a train from you to me?

Aaron-- yes, I heard you got that book. I might have to take a peak before Elizabeth gives me one!

Salep? Me three!

I remember my mom searching far and wide for mastic years ago to make a persian dessert. Angelica I use all the time to make Lindsay Shere's most delicious pain d'epices.


Magical mysterious ingredients. For a curious lad like myself, there is nothing better than diving into the fairytale world of ingredients like mastic, angelica, sahlab...

Mastic and sahlab are what give Persian ice cream it's glorous texture/ mouth feel.

Shelly and Shuna, you can find sahlab powder at Samiramis on Mission street near 26th street. THis guy has a whole world of exciting ingredients. Don't miss the fresh baked flatbread that is delivered to Samiramis a few days a week. If it is still warm, but two!

I have never used angelica, but we used to use Chartreuse as an ingredient in the pasrty kitchens of Green Dolphin Street and Absinthe in Chicago.

Can;t wait to try some of these ingredients in your creations Shuna!

I still remember the mastic rosewater cardamom ice cream from Nordljus.. the stuff dreams are made of!

...also I would listen to the advice given by chef Talbot. From his work and experiments displayed at Ideas in Food, you can tell he has a lot of knowledge and experience to share.

Oh.. and you can grind mastic with sugar cubes for a finer grind w/ less mess.

One Love

I've lived in the Middle East for a few years, and I like to bake, so I'm pretty familiar with mastic, mahelp, sahlep, rosewater, etc.

Mastic makes fabulous ice cream and custards, I think it pairs well with orange zest and other citrus (here's a good ice cream recipe). Also mastic-ricotta cookies. And to the person who asked you can buy mastic gum at most arab/pakistani groceries and delis- they're chicklets mastic.

Mahlep (sour cherry pits) are used to flavor cookies and cakes, often in mamoul (date-filled cookies).

Some other ideas you might be intersted in:

Arak syrup- simple syrup using the Lebanese liquor.
Fenugreek and Cornmeal- a classic Egyptian pairing.
Pistachio and SourCherry Shortbreads
Rose Petal Jam Tartlets
Cardamom-Wheat Biscuits (kleejah)
Dates in Cardamom-Kumquat Syrup with 'Ashta (Lebanese Clotted Cream).
Saffron and Anise- classic Levantine flavor pairing.
Date Molasses

just a few thoughts...

Roger, is it the real thing? No corn starch, sugar, dairy, or "flavorings"? I've read that salep is almost impossible to find outside of Turkey. Apparently, the specific orchid from which it is made is close to extinction (salep is a very popular drink). The Turkish government has therefore outlawed the export of authentic salep.

shelly, it would seem so...i mentioned it in david lebovitz's blog a while ago..i dont think they believed me at first..

p.s. got the>

interestingly, during the turkish occupation of greece, mastic..grown only in chios...the harvester was not allowed to own the mastic harvest. before the turks, the conquerors from genoa too had trouble controlling the sale and production of the mastic resin. the punishment for stealing mastic was very severe.

back to the turkish occupation and mastic.. everything was exported directly to turkey and everything mastic belong to the mother of the sultan of turkey, the empress mother. all of the mastic was dedicated to a member of the sultan's court in greece and was directly delivered to turkey. however, later, the sultan of turkey also made it possible for mastic to be sold in the free market.

later, when the turks left and later came back to greece, enslaving everyone..those from chios were spared from slavery because they knew how to cultivate and collect mastic. the turks knew that mastic was a very important source of income for them.

shuna, mastic liqueor? just like ouzo, it will turn white when you add water..i forget the name

also mastic in water is served..with sticky mastic on the tip of the spoon..nibble mastic..take a sip of water etc.

traditionally for easter... the brioche with the red painted eggs is delicately flavoured with mastic. i have a recipe..i can get it for you if you want..

oh..its so funny you should mention long pepper from boulette's larder..i recently got a handful of long pepper(we call it kanda thipili in my language) from them at for an unholy amount of $..26 bucks, iirc. sheesh!

but i needed it urgently..its great for throat ailments. i made a rasam...tamarind based soup with long pepper, black pepper, cumin and blackgram..all roasted in ghee and powdered, of course.

Faustian Bargain,
Are you thinking of retsina?

hi aaron..

whoa!, isnt that an acquired taste.

and no, its not retsina which is more of a wine. sometimes they flavour ouzo with mastic and this is not that either. another interesting drink with mastic is with pounded almonds sweetened with sugar and flavoured with mastic...its then diluted with water.

what i am referring to is just mastic liqueor...nothing else...mastic itself can be used to flavour a lot of drinks..liqueor, of course...flour, honey, sugar etc.

Greetings to all,
As a Jordanian we use mastic quite alot in our food. Mastic is too precious to only use it for sweets, you must use it for savoury food. I use it nearly on a daily baisis. The trick is to use only a tiny ammount when you grind it into a powder form. Dont apply too much pressure when you use a pestle & mortar so it wont clump up. e.g For basmati rice a measure of two uncooked cups of rice i would use 1/2 a teaspoon only of powedered mastic. It lends a very delicate yet fragrant aroma. If you want the full recipe let me know. In addition most every household would have thier own house mix of spices to use in their food. i have developed my own which includes mastic, and Mahleb the pits of sour cherry, and various other spices if you would like my spice mix list i can also provide it. If you would like more info on any middle eastern ingreidents such as pomegranate molasses, sahleb I would be happy to inform you. By the way Sahleb or Sahlep is from theN.O.Orchidaceae family and the most common species used for culinary purposes is Orchis mascula (Linn)I have great recipies for that also.

I have a jar of mastic "glue" which says its ingredients are sugar, glucose, water and mastic oil. I bought it on impulse from a Greek/ Turkish wholesaler. I am looking for some way to use it, preferably in something savoury. Any ideas?

Hello Margaret,

It sounds like you have a mastic product dedicated to sweet as opposed to savoury use.

That said, you may want to add it to a fish preparation or a seafood stew-- these are things my last chef used mastic with.

For sweet I would say add a little to your next batch of whipped cream, creme anglaise, ice cream, white or yellow cake, butter cookies or frosting. Although I'm sure there are countless other way to transmit mastic...

Taste that stuff first because mastic comes in various strengths and sometimes a tiny bit goes a long way.

Look online, as well, on some Greek and Turkish websites for recipe idea.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

A chef friend of ours is just breaking into the baking field and was given a jar of mahelp to play with. The gentleman that gave it to him is Greek and suggested a to try it in a sweet bread. Is there another spice that's comperable to mahelp? How is it best utilized? Any suggestions would be very appreciated.
Thank you very much,

I am going to know only as much as you until I read all these comments and follow all these links and make Google my best friend for an hour. In fact there are a number of Turkish food blogs you might want to check out. I wish that person were me--I am a little jealous... ~ Shuna

Wow! I followed you here from somebody else's Twitter conversation. Mastic now officially fascinates me!

Hello Patrick, So glad to hear it! The more the merrier is what I say... I'm sure you've heard of the Greek liqueurs, no? ~ Shuna

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • eggbeater

Find Me Elsewhere ~

Chef Resource

  • Chef & Restaurant Database

Eggbeater Archives