Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Middle Eastern Baharat, My Version

Baharat is the Arabic word for spice. This seasoning mixture is used in many Lebanese dishes but I have never found one to my liking.Growing up, my Mother would just season her Lebanese meals with a mixture of the individual spices, and since some were not always available in the Caribbean, the predominant notes were cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper. The simplicity of this spice mixture could also have been due to the fact that her family originally came from a small mountain village in Lebanon so the spice mixture might not have been as complex as that used in Beirut. Bear in mind that this is not an "all-in-one" seasoning mix as it does not contain salt. You will always have to add that to suit your taste.

The Baharat mixture varies according to the country, the region in the particular county, and even among families living in the same country. The good thing about this mixture is that it lends itself to that level of variation, and so may be customized to suit ones taste quite easily. This is my version. I like a spicy Baharat so this is what I use. I lightly toast the spices in a wok before grinding. This releases the essential oils and intensifies the flavor. I use this mixture in my spiced Lebanese eggs, and pretty much in all my Lebanese meat recipes on this site.

¼ cup black peppercorns

¼ cup allspice berries

1/4 cup coriander seeds

¼ cup cinnamon

¼ cup cloves

1/3 cup cumin seeds

2 teaspoons cardamom seeds

4 whole nutmegs

¼ cup ground sweet paprika

¼ cup cayenne pepper
2-3 dried Moroccan Lemons (Loomis)
1. Lightly toast the ingredients in a wok until you can smell the fragrance. Be careful not to burn them
2. Grind in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Sieve to remove unground pieces. Store in an airtight jar.

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