Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Bay Leaves, Whole Black Peppercorns, Ground Red Pepper (Cayenne), Dried Ginger, Dried Ground Coriander, Whole Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Dried Limes, Saffron, Whole Green Cardamom Pods, Dried Ground Cumin, and Whole Nutmeg.
Photo (taken by yours truly) of Kebseh Spice Mix from my cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair.
When you think of the Middle East, exotic flavors and spices are probably high on the list of images that are conjured up. The intoxicating spicy smell of walking through an old market, sampling both sweet treats (like ma’amoul) and savory dishes (like shawarma) that are characterized by the perfect blend of alluring spices. Even enjoying a fresh pot of Turkish coffee you’ll get your fill of spice, in the form of cardamom.
For those of you who are thinking right now that you don’t like spicy foods, not to fear. While Middle Eastern cuisine uses a lot of spice, in general, most dishes aren’t full of heat. They’re just full of flavor, perfectly balanced.
If you have trouble finding good spice mixes in your area, you are in for a real treat. In my cookbook, I share the recipe for several Middle Eastern spice blends.
I included well-known blends like Za’atar (Thyme Spice Mix) and 7-Spice Mix, but also a few lesser known blends like Cake Spice Mix (which is used in Ma’amoul), Mendy Spice Mix, and Kebseh Spice Mix. Head over to MidEATS for recipes for a few spice blends from my book…and be sure to enter the cookbook giveaway!