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Top 10 Commonly Used Middle Eastern Spices and Herbs


Spices and herbs are the foundation to any delicious Middle Eastern meal. In fact, the spices are what makes Middle Eastern food so unique! Here you will find the most commonly useed herbs and spices in Middle eastern cooking. Spices are not only used to flavor food, but also to add color.

1. Cumin

Cumin seeds
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Cumin is a very strong spice and is very spicy. Use sparingly; a little bit goes a very long way with cumin.

2. Nutmeg

In western countries, nutmeg is used primarily in dessert dishes, however in the Middle East it is used in meat dishes also.

3. Cardamom

Cardamom is used in many beverages. It is used mostly ground, however the pods are sometimes used. Cardamom give Arabic and Turkish coffee it's unique flavor.

4. Tumeric

Tumeric is found in many dishes, mostly meat and vegetables recipes. It is only used in ground form and has a bitter, medium flavor.

5. Sumac

Sumac is sour and is sometimes substituted for lemons in recipes.

6. Baharat

Baharat means mixed spices in Arabic. Baharat is a combination of several different spices consisting of spices that are available. The blend differs with each country. However, you can purchase a blend called "sebah baharat" in stores, which translates to seven spices.

7. Caraway

Caraway produce a spicy, yet sweet flavor with a hint of dill. Caraway is used in spicier dishes found in North African cuisone.

8. Aniseed

Aniseed is one of the world's oldest spices. It is popular in sweets and has many medicinal purposes.

9. Allspice

Allspice is used in many types of food, not just desserts. You will find it is used to flavor meats and stews, as well as sweets.

10. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is used in a mixture of spices called baharat.
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