The Best Middle Eastern Spice Blends for Your Kitchen

by Kristen White Blogger

Spice blends help incorporate appealing flavours into your culinary preparation. Their intoxicating aromas enhance your recipe substantially. Every region has its typical spice mix. The exotic flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine are attributed to the aromatic spices it comprises. The variety this region has to offer makes spices its most famous export.  

Middle Eastern spice blends are balanced such that they add a lovely combination of smokiness and sweetness to your dish. The spice markets in the Middle East are a visual treat of mounds of vibrant aromatics. Enumerated here are the finest Middle Eastern spice blends ideal for use in your domestic kitchen:

Aromatic Baharat 

An all purpose seasoning from the Middle East, Baharat literally translates into ‘spices’ in Arabic. It is traditionally made by mixing cumin, caraway, black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Slight variations add to the complexity of this blend. Some regions even incorporate mint, saffron and dried rose petals to this concoction. 

Baharat is often used as a rub mixed with olive oil to marinate fish, poultry and meat. It also adds depths of flavour to sauces, soups, pilaffs, couscous, vegetables, and lentils. You can even make a handy condiment paste by mixing Baharat with olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Use your discretion for the proportions and bring it to taste. As is apparent, Baharat is quite a versatile and flavourful spice mix that lends its warmly sweet touch whenever used.

Tangy Za’atar

A heady combination of sesame seeds, thyme, dried sumac berries (which have a fruity lemony flavour), oregano and marjoram, produce this grassy assertive blend. Either mixed with olive oil or used dry, Za’atar is commonly sprinkled on flatbreads. It adds colour, nuttiness and tanginess when combined in dips like baba ghanush, hummus, and tzatziki.

In addition to seasonings, Za’atar is widely used to flavour sauces, fish, grilled vegetables, as well as white and red meats. This spice mix is widely available online. Those keen on experimenting can easily whip up this blend at home too, using either dried or fresh ingredients.

Fragrant Advieh

For Advieh, ingredients like cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and dried rose petals or buds are ground into a fine powder. Some variations to this classic spice blend include black pepper, cloves, dried lime, caraway, ginger, nutmeg, coriander, turmeric, saffron, or pistachio.

This gently warming spice blend can be sprinkled while making rice dishes, grilling, or roasting vegetables, preparing stews whether meat or vegetarian based. Since Advieh has a slightly sweet fragrance, it is ideal to incorporate it in rice puddings too.

Nutty Dukkah

Pronounced ‘Doo-kah’, combining freshly toasted seeds and nuts adds to the crunch element of this aromatic mixture. For this spice mix most often hazelnuts are combined with coriander, sesame or pumpkin seeds, and cumin. At times, mint, dried thyme and peppercorns are incorporated for an interesting twist.

Dukkah is ideal to crust chicken, lamb, fish and even tofu. Try sprinkling it on feta cheese, pasta, roasted vegetables, and fresh fruit for a novel kick. Often it is just served as a dip with bread and olive oil, quite an irresistible combination.

The adventurous domestic chefs have the option of making these spice blends from scratch using the freshest ingredients. While toasting whole spices bear in mind their size. This actually is a huge indicator of the approximate time they take to toast over low heat. The important thing is to allow each one of your toasted whole spices to cool completely before grinding them into powder.

The mixes prepared at home can be stored for about three months in an airtight container, not exposed to direct heat or light.  

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About Kristen White Committed   Blogger

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Joined APSense since, August 19th, 2016, From Chicago, United States.

Created on Mar 8th 2019 04:26. Viewed 512 times.


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