Thursday, September 8, 2011

Middle Eastern Spice Blends - Baharat

Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix used in many countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, Baharat simply means "spices" in Arabic. This blend is often used to season lamb but is an all-purpose flavour enhancer useful for fish, chicken, beef, tomato sauces and soups. It’s a great addition to lentil dishes, pilafs and can even perk up plain old meatloaf. It can be useful as a rub for virtually anything on the barbeque. A traditional baharat mixture is used similarly to the way Indians use garam masala and may be used as a final flavour booster after a meal has been prepared. It is also commonly added to the pan with a little butter to disperse flavours before frying.
The Turkish style baharat is similar to the Arabic versions but often includes mint. Chefs in Turkey use this blend as an all-purpose seasoning for meat dishes such as kofte, grain pilafs, and vegetable dishes. Excellent as a rub on lamb prior to grilling, it also has an affinity for eggplant, or you may even try perking up your next batch of ratatouille with these flavors of Turkey. Cassia, nutmeg, cumin, coriander and black pepper round out this blend.
It's preferable to use these spices whole then dry roast them in a pan and grind together - however, you can use a short cut and blend powdered spices. Baharat can be bought at Middle Eastern groceries and markets but it is also quite easy to make fresh for yourself and keep it stored in a spice jar. There are many different variations, all based on the basic ingredients of black pepper and allspice. I'm going to share several variations by region.  You should try them all - super delicious and a good way to add flavor without added calories.

Recipes for Baharat

Baharat (Most common blend)
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Turkish Baharat
2  tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2  tablespoons ground cumin
1  tablespoon ground coriander
1  tablespoon ground mint
1  tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon

Syrian Baharat
2 teaspoons allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cloves

Tunisian Baharat
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried rose petals
1 teaspoon black pepper

Kebsa spices (i.e. Gulf baharat)
1 tablespoon red paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground loomi (dried lime)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground coriander

I hope you gives these spice blends a try.  Let me know if you have any questions.  ENJOY!!

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