Spice Cuisine: Middle Eastern Spices and Seasonings

Middle Eastern cooking traditionally uses a vast array of spices, from staples like cumin, coriander, turmeric and mint to exotic blends like Ras el Hanout and Za'atar. Arab spice traders once controlled nearly all movement of spices between Asia (including the famous Spice Islands), India, Africa, and Europe, so almost every spice in existence has found a place in Middle Eastern cuisine. The list below includes those spices that are particularly common in Middle Eastern recipes, or particularly uncommon anywhere else.

Aleppo Pepper

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Aleppo chili pepper comes to us from southern Turkey, near the Syrian town of Aleppo, which is considered one of the culinary meccas of the Mediterra…

Baharat Seasoning

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Baharat means spices in Arabic, and this wonderfully complex blend has a unique balance of spicy flavors. Savory and slightly sweet, with a lingerin…

Black Cardamom Pods

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These black (actually brownish) pods are not "true" cardamom, but come from a closely related species. The flavor is very similar but much stronger …

Green Cardamom, Whole Fancy Pods, Inner Seeds or Ground

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Cardamom has a unique flavor and aroma that is hard to put into words. It defies the boundaries of normal sensory comparisons. It is compellingly st…

Chai Spices with Vanilla

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Recently the Eastern spiced tea known as Chai has become very popular in the US, and for good reason! “Chai” is simply the word for tea in Sout…

Ceylon "True" Cinnamon, Whole or Ground

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Cinnamomum zeylanicum These tightly-rolled quills are very delicate. They feel like parchment paper, which you can break apart with your fingertips…

Coriander Seeds, Whole Or Ground

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Coriander is a pleasantly sweet spice with a lemony top note. It is commonly used in chili and curry dishes. The coriander plant produces both a spic…

Indian Cumin Seed, Whole Or Ground

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Cumin is a crucial ingredient in several world cuisines. It has a unique and potent flavor crucial to Indian curries, where it's often roasted before…

Fenugreek Seeds, Whole Or Ground

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Fenugreek seeds are used mainly in Middle Eastern cooking. It is an ingredient in most curries and chutneys. Like fennel, fenugreek has been culti…

Moroccan Spice Mixture

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Moroccan Spice Mixture is an authentic blend of spices from the sunny Mediterranean. Made at the special request of Chicago's Field Museum of Natura…

Orange Flower Water

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Orange flower water is used in many Mediterranean dessert dishes. Oranges proliferate in Mediterranean countries. They are enjoyed as is, or in an a…

Smoked Sweet Spanish Paprika, Pimenton de la Vera Dulce

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Spanish Smoked Sweet Paprika is also known as Pimenton de la Vera, Dulce. It is a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean recipes. Anyone from Spai…

Pomegranate Molasses

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Pomegranate molasses is used primarily in Mediterranean cooking. It is also called pomegranate syrup, because of it's consistency. This is a 100% n…

Preserved Lemons, Organic

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Preserved or pickled lemons are cured in a brine of salt water and lemon juice. They are mildly tart and intensely lemony, with a salty tang that ca…

Ras El Hanout

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Ras El Hanout translates to "top of the shop", and represents the best blend a spice merchant has to offer. This is a traditional Arabic blend, commo…

Rose Water

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Rose water is currently enjoying a surge in popularity. It is used in many Mediterranean and Indian dessert dishes. This rose water is called for in…

Superior Grade Spanish Saffron, Powdered

The reason saffron is the highest-priced of spices is because of the intensive hand labor required to cultivate and harvest it. It is the stamen of a…

Spearmint Leaves, Organic

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Spearmint is the most popular mint used for cooking. Mint has been a valued plant since the ancient world. In mythology, a nymph named Mentha caugh…

Sumac

Sumac

Sumac has a tart flavor that is very nice sprinkled on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions. Try substituting in any d…

Urfa Biber Turkish Chile Pepper

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Commonly called for in Turkish cooking, urfa biber is a rich, fruity crushed pepper that’s delicious in all kinds of dishes. It’s got a little ki…

Za'atar

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Za'atar (zaatar) is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. It is often mixed with ol…