Spice Mixes of Africa and the Middle East

A Complete Guide

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Spices are steeped in the history of the Middle East and its presence in the regions cuisine is as alluring as it is vital. The mere sight or smell of saffron, cloves, cinnamon or cardamom evokes scenes of Persian traders; huge bowls of spices amidst bustling souks, fragrant tagines and brightly coloured rice dishes.


North African Spices

Each country has its own spice blend and every household its own unique recipe; ras el hanout is a typical example of how a spice blend can be altered to suit the individual as a multi-purpose flavouring agent. Taking a closer look at the individual spice blends one can draw comparisons with the food of the Indian Subcontinent, they both use copious amounts of dried spice, chilli and fresh herbs counterbalanced with plain side dishes such as rice or cous cous. Similarly, spice find its way into both regions variety of desserts livening up a simple yoghurt or platter of fresh fruits.

It is fascinating to follow the route the spice traders took to see how various countries have stamped their mark on other nations cuisines and to remember how important their hazardous journeys across treacherous seas was to our food, as we now know it.

Ras el Hanout
Berbere
Preserved Lemons
La Kama
Dukkah
Baharat
Ghormeh Sabzi
Harissa
Chermoula

Content and picture Miles Collins

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