What is mastic gum?
Part of our Frequently Asked Culinary Questions. Click to see more answers to your questions.
A comment on a post in The Cook’s Cook Community Forum Group on Facebook asked the author to explain mastic gum, an ingredient in her Egyptian Rice Pudding recipe.
Mastic gum is used in traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes as a flavor enhancer. Some other popular recipes that use mastic gum include:
- Baklava – a sweet pastry made with phyllo dough, nuts, and sweet syrup
- Turkish delight – a jelly-like candy made with sugar, corn starch, and fruit juice
- Arabic ice cream – a creamy, fragrant ice cream with a unique flavor and texture
- Mastika liqueur – a traditional drink from Greece and the Balkans made from mastic resin and other ingredients.
Mastic gum is a natural food ingredient with a unique flavor and textural properties.It is a natural resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) native to the Mediterranean region. It is used in the food and cosmetic industries as a flavoring and ingredient. and it is also used in traditional and modern medicine for various purposes, including as a digestive aid, to treat ulcers, and for oral hygiene.
Mastic gum has been gaining popularity in contemporary cuisine. Some contemporary dishes include:
- Cocktails – mastic gum can be used to add a subtle, pine-like flavor to cocktails and other beverages.
- Ice cream – mastic gum can be used to add a creamy, chewy texture to ice cream and other frozen desserts.
- Sorbet – mastic gum can be used as an ingredient in sorbet to help stabilize the texture and improve mouthfeel.
- Sauces and marinades – mastic gum can be used to add depth of flavor to sauces, marinades, and other condiments.
To add mastic gum to a recipe, you’ll need to first grind it into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Mastic gum is often used as a thickener in cooking and can be added to liquids, such as sauces, syrups, or stews, to help thicken and stabilize the mixture. A little goes a long way, and too much can make the dish rubbery.