Spices are something that grants the food their very character and tell you the story of its origin. Hence, if you are looking forward to recreating some middle-eastern magic at your home, looking for middle-eastern spices can be tricky. So, here is a guide to help you learn and discover more when you are looking for middle eastern spices.
Aleppo pepper is one of the mildest peppers with nothing inside for flesh or seeds, making them perfect for your salads, which require slight flavoring. Apart from moderate heat, Aleppo pepper will give your food a subtle fruitiness and saltiness.
You can find this pepper only in some parts of Syria and Turkey.
Anise is one of the finest and oldest spices known to mankind, as the oldest Egyptian civilization used it for cooking and medicinal purposes. As for the flavor, anise has a tangy taste, which is used to add that lemony kick to your licorice candies, foods, and cocktails. The tanginess is not too overpowering rather slightly sweet and aromatic for appealing all the senses.
What medicinal values anise has, you may ask. Well, it is used for treating cough and indigestion.
Popular in most households nowadays, cumin is a native of Egypt that has been adopted by countries like India as their own. Apart from India, North American and Chinese populations are also a patron of the spice to add a spicy, warm flavor to their vegetarian and non-vegetarian preparations.
Coriander seeds and leaves are widely popular all across the planet, but its origin traces back to Palestinian regions of the Middle East. While the leaves give fresh, green color to the dishes and condiments, the seeds are ground into a powder to add the spiciness to various cuisines. Indian and Mughlai kitchens cannot survive a day without this spice.
The seeds have a warm, nutty flavor, which is cherished by many.
After saffron, which is the most expensive spice in the world, cardamom is the second most expensive with its aroma reaching from Southern India and Egypt to all corners of the world. Its mildly sweet, pungent, yet soothing flavor makes it equally suitable for desserts and savory dishes.
Whenever you step into a traditional Middle-eastern kitchen in action, you will be welcomed by the fragrant aroma of Bahart or “spices” as they call it there. Essentially, Baharat is a mixture of cinnamon, coriander, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, black pepper, and cumin powder. It is used for flavoring a wide variety of dishes ranging from chicken stew, fish, pork, and biryani.
Even if you cannot find baharat mix when looking for middle eastern spices, you can grind some spices at home and prepare it fresh.
Other spices that are a part of Middle-Easter tradition are Nigella Seeds, Ras El Hanout, Mint, Mahlab, Mastic, Saffron, Suraf, Urfa Biber, and more. There is undoubtedly an unending list of Middle East spices; all you have to do is choose the right ones for your spice rack.