The Most Commonly Used Spices and Herbs in the Middle East

Spices and herbs are the basis of all delicious Middle Eastern cuisine. In fact, they make Middle Eastern cuisine distinct. Here are the most commonly used herbs and spices in this kitchen:

  • Cumin: It is apparently the most prevailing one among the rest for Middle Eastern spices, other than being the most known one in the world. A strong, fragrant, and spicy spice, the key to the unmistakable aroma and taste of falafel.
  • Nutmeg: In most Western countries, this one is mainly used for desserts. But in the Middle East, its sweet earthiness is also used for delicious purposes such as meat dishes.
  • Cardamon: It is used in many drinks. It is the ground that was mainly used, but pods may also be used. The green pods have a strong lemon flavor and the black pods are slightly spicy and have an anise scent. Cardamom gives Arabic and Turkish coffee an unmistakable taste.
  • Turmeric: In the Middle East, Turmeric is mainly found in meat and vegetable recipes, which is normally used in ground form, and has a slightly peppery taste.
  • Sumac: With its sour taste, it is used as a substitute for lemons in recipes at times. And with this distinct citrusy taste, it is obviously a great ingredient too for dressings.
  • Bahārāt: It means “spices” in Arabic, which is actually a combination of spices whose exact mixture varies depending on the country and region. The mixture usually contains black pepper, cardamom, cumin, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika. A mixture called “sebah baharat” (means 7 spices) can be purchased at gourmet stores, specialty stores, or online.
  • Caraway: The caraway has a slightly rustic and sweet taste with a slight dill. Caraway seeds are used in more flavorful dishes of North African cuisine.
  • Anise Seed: Anise seeds are one of the oldest spices in the world. It is known in candies and has many medicinal uses. Anise, with its unique licorice flavor,  is a popular ingredient in pastries such as these toasted anise biscuits.
  • Allspice: With its aromatic flavor, this one is used in many types of foods, and not just for desserts. Mostly used to give flavor to meats and stews, sometimes as sweets.
  • Cinnamon: It is highly regarded around the world and is often associated with desserts like apple pie. Nevertheless, this is a common addition to the kebab spice mix.

And finding these spices and herbs has been made easier through the help of international grocery stores. You can try visiting any Fresh Farms stores in your area to get these items without any hassle.

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