Ready in just 5 minutes, this Lebanese seven spice mix is used in many Middle Eastern dishes. This aromatic spice mixture doesn't require many ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your pantry.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes offer a variety of dishes that are made with simple wholesome ingredients. Just like Persian advieh and ras el hanout, this recipe is used in various dishes to make them more aromatic and flavorful.
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What is Lebanese "seven spice"?
Seven spice is a mix of spices that's widely used in Levantine cuisine including soups, stews, rice or meat dishes. It's often called baharat in Arabic which means spices.
Each family and region has their own way of making this recipe and uses different spices and ratios. You can even find different versions of this spice mix in different shops.
It's always a good idea to have a jar of this spice blend on hand since it can be used in many different recipes and you can keep it fresh for months.
As I mentioned previously, there are numerous versions of this mix and the ratios and spices could vary from family to family. Here are the spices I use to make baharat:
- Allspice: This spice is used in many cuisines including Turkish and Levantine. It's a key ingredient of this blend and has a warm flavor resembling cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Unground allspice resembles peppercorn.
- Cumin: I use store-bought ground version. Cumin is used in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
- Coriander: Ground coriander is available in many supermarkets. Even though it comes from the seeds of cilantro, it has a unique flavor.
- Black pepper: We need just a little bit of black pepper for volume.
- Cinnamon: I love cinnamon in savory dishes such as shawarma since it balances the flavors.
- Nutmeg: You can use ground nutmeg or whole nutmeg for this recipe. If using a whole nutmeg, you will need a microplane to grate it.
- Cloves: Used in many sweet and savory dishes, this warm spice brings this blend together.
How to make a seven spice blend
Some like to toast and grind their spices from whole leaves or sticks. I usually get ground spices to speed up the process a bit.
Mix all the spices in a bowl or a plate. Make sure all are combined well. Store it in an airtight glass jar in a cool and dry place.
There are different version of baharat. Some include cardamom, fenugreek or ginger. You can also find different baharat recipes for different countries. For example, the Lebanese version is different from Iraqi or Syrian versions.
This spice blend is a staple in Levantine cuisine and can be used in many different recipe including bamya (okra stew), kibbeh, stuffed eggplant, stuffed grape leaves (dolma). You can also add it to soups such as eggplant chickpea stew, Mediterranean lentil soup and roasted cauliflower soup or even to hummus. It would also make a nice addition to roasted vegetables or salads such as roasted cauliflower salad.
Frequently asked questions
You can store the spice blend in an airtight jar and keep in it a cool and dry place for up to 6 months.
Yes, you can use it to marinade any kind of meat or seafood. I love mixing it with olive oil and use it as a marinade for grilled spatchcock chicken. You can also use it to flavor vegetables.
It's best to know the source of your spices. I like buying mine from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean or Indian stores.
More Lebanese recipes
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How To Make a Seven Spice Blend
- 2 tablespoon allspice
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Place all the spices in a bowl and mix to combine using a spoon. Make sure all is combined well.
- Transfer to a glass spice jar with a tight lid.
- Store in a cool and dry place.
- Seven spice keeps for up to 6 months in a cool and dry place.
- Make sure that you're using quality spices. I usually get mine from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops or trustworthy online sources.
- You can use this blend as an addition to dishes such as kibbeh, stuffed eggplant, stuffed grape leaves (dolma) or in a marinade for spatchcock chicken. You can also add it to soups such as Mediterranean lentil soup. This spice can also be used to flavor roasted vegetables or salads such as roasted cauliflower salad.