The colourful Middle Eastern culture will conjure up images of gorgeous handwoven rugs, majestic domes that rise to the sky and nomadic Bedouins. But underneath it is rich cuisines made using exotic Middle Eastern spice blends. Take a peek into these amazing blends and see how it can transform your cooking into something fantastic.
While the word Bharat means spices, it is actually a blend of black pepper, paprika, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin. These spices are ground into a fine powder and is used as a ubiquitous seasoning agent. It may differ from one region to another or even from one kitchen to another.
Baharat may contain traces of mint in the Turkish version, while dried rosebuds are included in Tunisia. Other spices like saffron, sumac, turmeric, and chilli peppers may also be present. You can season your lamb, beef, vegetables, chicken, and seafood with this blend. It can also be included in soups and used as a condiment. It has a good balance of sweet and smoky blends and adds a little zest to any dish on which it is used.
Ras El Hanout
The Ras El Hanout is an aromatic and complex Moroccan spice blend used popularly for Moroccan cuisines. The literal translation of this blend is ‘’ head to the shop’’, meaning, this mix of spices is the best of all the offerings in a spice shop. It is used liberally in mrouzia, a honey and lamb dish with great seasoning. Hence it is also called as the mrouzia spice.
Remember that sourcing Ras El Hanout from different sources will not fetch you the same version of the blend. You may notice slight variations in flavour because the blend differs from one region to another. Mostly, nutmeg, cardamom, mace, anise, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and various peppers are used to prepare this blend. Typically, the blend is prepared by grinding whole spices, leaves and dried roots together. You can use it as a rub, condiment or as a seasoning to dishes like tajines, and stews.
As one of the finest Middle Eastern spice blends, za’atar is a blend that is fragrant and tangy with a hint of nuttiness. It blends together marjoram, dried thyme, oregano, toasted sesame seeds, salt and spices like sumac. You can use it with red meat to add a subtle background flavour or with fish and poultry for adding a brighter note. Za’atar gives a fantastic taste when sprinkled on top of flatbread, and grilled vegetables. You can even use this in dips like tzatziki, hummus, and ghanoush. It is also used with pita, which is first dipped in olive oil and then in za’atar.
Spice blend from the Middle East is truly indispensable for most of the cuisines prepared today. They add an irresistible touch of flavours to your plate. Having them in your kitchen cabinet will make your cooking exciting and exquisite.