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Baharat – Middle Eastern spice mix

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Most cultures have a herb or spice mix that has become synonymous with their cuisine. China has a five spice mix, India garam masala and the Middle East has baharat.

Baharat translates literally as spice. Like any traditional recipe there are many variations, but one thing I have found is the spices will shine if you grind and roast them freshly and use them immediately. My advice is make your own.

I have used both these recipes. I prefer the Ottolenghi formula, largely because of the allspice, but I have also included Herbie’s mix from “Spice Notes” so you can see the subtle variations.

Baharat is indispensible in the Middle Eastern kitchen, especially when cooking with lamb. The batch I made today was used in the stuffing for red Romano peppers, but more about that tomorrow.

Ottolenghi
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1/2 whole freshly grated nutmeg

Herbies
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon cassia
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Measure the spices. Break the cinnamon/ cassia into small pieces.
Open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and discard the pods.
Grind the peppercorns, coriander seed, cinnamon/ cassia, cloves, allspice, cumin and cardamom seed in a spice grinder.
My grinder is not very efficient so I finish grinding the spices with a small mortar and pestle.
Grate the nutmeg and add to the the ground spices.
If using Herbies formula, mix in the paprika.
Store in an airtight container and use as quickly as possible.
The flavours will fade fairly rapidly.
Dry roast before using.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

17 comments on “Baharat – Middle Eastern spice mix

  1. Pingback: Chinese Five Spice Mix | Please Pass the Recipe

  2. saucygander
    March 22, 2014

    I love using baharat, but only in a powdered form until now, thanks for the inspiration to make my own mix!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2014

      Enjoy the difference, you’ll be astounded how lovely a fresh mix is!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Stuffed Red Romano Peppers | Please Pass the Recipe

  4. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward
    March 19, 2014

    My favorite spice blend! 🙂

    Like

  5. chef mimi
    March 19, 2014

    I’ve never heard of this! I’m so excited to try it!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 19, 2014

      I’m sure you’d like it Mimi, it’s a lively, fragrant blend, delicious with sweetly scented savoury dishes.

      Like

  6. Baking With Gab
    March 19, 2014

    Beautiful picture. I can almost smell all of those intoxicating spices just looking at it!

    Like

  7. Eha
    March 19, 2014

    I think Baharat is one of my very favourite spice mixes I have used regulalry for decades. Often made my own, but just as often bought from Herbies. I find it fascinating that you have put the Ottolenghi and Herbies mixes side by side for comparison – I know I shall be trying the Ottolenghi version by the weekend . . . probably with one of my lamb recipes. [Smiling] The O version will make less which will be used up faster . . . it seems to have a more ‘elegant’ appeal to me !!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 19, 2014

      I had only ever bought baharat from Herbies until recently when I found the jar empty. I pulled his Spice Notes off the shelf and made a batch to his recipe. I still hadn’t bought any and needed baharat again recently and had the Ottolenghi book open so made his formula instead. It is a much fresher, vibrant flavour IMO. I’ll never buy commercial baharat again.

      Like

  8. ChgoJohn
    March 19, 2014

    This is unfamiliar territory for me but nonetheless interesting. I’m pinning this and look forward to learning how to use it. I know I can buy it but, as you noted, the flavors fade quickly and ;ve no icea how long that container has sat on the shelf.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 19, 2014

      Tomorrow’s recipe uses the whole batch of baharat while it’s fresh and fragrant. It’s a harmonious blend of flavours which works beautifully with lamb.

      Like

  9. Fae's Twist & Tango
    March 19, 2014

    This was an education for me. Is it mainly Arabs who use baharat? I love your photo displaying the spices in a tagine, and the background (oriental rug?).

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 19, 2014

      I’ve heard baharat referred to as Lebanese 7 spice mix, I’ve seen it used in Turkey, but it’s common throughout the Arabic world. Isn’t the tiny tagine cute, a couple of dollars at a discount shop!

      Like

  10. Leah
    March 19, 2014

    Yum… I can almost smell the spices roasting. Amazing photograph! xxx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 19, 2014

      Thanks, baharat is a really delicious blend!! Great with lamb! Xxx

      Like

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2014 by in Food, Pantry Essentials, Spice blends.
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