Spice blends originating from the Middle East are complex, aromatic yet versatile for use in commercial and domestic kitchens. This culturally rich part of the globe boasts of scents and flavours which are penetrating far and wide. Middle Eastern cuisine is gaining in popularity for good reason.
Acquaint yourself with some well balanced intoxicating Middle Eastern Spice Blends. Once you know their composition and unique properties, you will be better equipped to incorporate them into your cooking.
Listed here are the popular ones to get you started and hooked on:
Quintessential to this region, za’atar is the Arabic word for ‘thyme’. A sprinkle of this aromatic spice is fit to take savoury dishes up a notch. A combination of toasted white sesame seeds, cumin, salt, dried sumac berries, oregano, and thyme results in this flavourful concoction.
The minerals released from toasting the sesame seeds are used by your body to process protein, carbohydrates and cholesterol. As a garnish, za’atar adds colour to flatbreads. When combined in dips like hummus and baba ghanush, it lends a wonderful tanginess and nuttiness. Mix it with olive oil and use it as a rub for grilling fish, meats and even vegetables.
Literally meaning ‘to pound’ and pronounced as ‘doo-kah’, this spice blend mixes freshly toasted and ground seeds with nuts. For that crunch element, combine hazelnuts or peanuts with pumpkin or sesame seeds and dried herbs. Nuts are loaded with proteins and healthy fats essential for the functioning of your brain and overall body.
Middle Eastern spice blends are a welcome addition to your food. This one too does not disappoint. Its thick texture is ideal for roasting as it crisps up further in the oven. Use it to crust your chicken, fish, lamb or tofu. Toss popcorn or fried chickpeas in a tablespoon of dukkah and you have an interesting snack to munch on. Sprinkling this mix on pasta, feta cheese, fresh fruit and roasted vegetables gives them a lovely kick.
To make this crimson blend combine dried garlic, sweet paprika, salt, cumin, caraway seeds, a dash of vegetable oil and smoked hot peppers. Harissa is considered a prized dry rub for grilled meats and flavourful addition to soups and long-simmered stews. It also enhances dips, appetisers, pizzas and even scrambled eggs.
Capsaicin is the compound found in hot peppers which reduces blood pressure. Spiced up food cuts down your yearning for salty, fatty and sweet bites thus, keeps your calorie intake to the bare minimum.
Now that you have been introduced to the wonders of these versatile spice blends, season your everyday food with them. Apart from that extra zing, you stand to benefit health wise too.
Middle Eastern Za’atar – Mild
Middle Eastern Za’atar is a delicious Middle Eastern spice blend made with sumac, thyme, oregano and sesame seeds. This mixture has a nutty and fresh flavour and aroma and is traditionally used to sprinkle over flat bread that has been brushed with olive oil and lightly toasted. In Australian cuisine, it works well as a Barbecue rub. There are many variations of Za’atar and it is widely used in the Middle East and Mediterranean in a similar way to how Mixed Herbs are used in European dishes.$3.45
Egyptian Dukkah Pistachio & Lemon Myrtle – Mild
Egyptian Dukkah is a warm and aromatic blend of roasted nuts seasoned with herbs and spices. Our blend is made with roasted and hazelnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, cumin, coriander, middle eastern za’atar and sea salt. The addition of lemon myrtle and pistachio to our original blend gives it an amazing new crunch. Popularly Turkish bread is dipped in olive oil then into dukkah to create a delicious dip.$3.45
Nth African Harissa – Hot
Tunisian Harissa is an integral ingredient in North African cuisine. It has an orangey-red and vibrant colour and scent. It is made from chillies, garlic, and various other spices and is characterized by its grainy consistency and tangy, slightly smokey flavour. It is often used as a paste or condiment by mixing a little olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.$9.95