With spice and herb combinations that meld hot and sweet with tangy and savory, Mediterranean and/or Middle Eastern cooking boast a wide array of flavors and
aromas. Different countries are known for their own traditional spice mixes and marinades, each presenting wonderful ways to wake up your menu.
Berbere: a fiery hot Ethiopian spice mix with intense and exotic flavor that makes a great addition as a rub for chicken or lamb, or to season lentil or rice dishes. You can use the pre-ground spice or the whole seed for deeper flavor.
Chermoula: a pungent marinade made with fresh herbs, earthy spices, and lemon that’s typically used with fish or seafood in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan, and Tunisian cooking. It can also be a stand alone sauce, dressing, or dip or served with roasted vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
Coriander: the tan seed of the cilantro plant, coriander has a subtly sweet, lemony flavor. It is native to southern Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia. The spice is typically available ground, but for a more intense flavor and aroma, toast whole coriander seeds lightly in a dry skillet before grinding them or adding them whole to dishes. Coriander is a classic addition to Middle Eastern seafood and vegetable recipes; try it in fish stew, falafel, or lentil soup.
Cumin: the spice’s distinctive, earthy flavor is unmistakable in many Middle Eastern staple dishes. Use the ground version, or toast the whole seeds until fragrant before adding to dishes or grinding them. Cumin adds zip to fish and shellfish dishes and to couscous, marinades, and hummus.
Paprika: made from the ground fruit of a red pepper plant that originated in Central America, paprika can range from mild to fiery. Sweet smoked paprika and hot smoked paprika are both dried slowly over a wood fire for several weeks, which imparts a delicious smoky flavor.Use it in iconic Middle Eastern favorites like baba ghanoush, fava bean soup, and lamb shawarma.
Ras el Hanout: a potent reddish Moroccan spice blend that varies but is usually comprised of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, white pepper, red pepper, paprika, and turmeric. It is often compared to curry. Use it in marinades or to season stews.Turmeric: vivid, golden-orange turmeric comes
Turmeric: vivid, golden-orange turmeric comes from a member of the ginger family that’s native to southwest India, and has been used in cooking since 600 B.C. Use ground turmeric to add a slightly pungent bitter flavor to rice, Middle Eastern-style meatballs, and to dishes starring chicken, lamb, or shrimp.
Za’atar Blend: a traditional Jordanian mix of sumac, sesame seeds, salt, and za’atar (a green herb similar to thyme, or a crossing of marjoram, oregano, and thyme). Use it on pita, naan, and flatbreads with olive oil, add it to a grilled steak, or sprinkle it on veggies before roasting.
Note: Some spices may only be available by special order.