Originates in Aleppo, Syria. It is only grown in two main areas of Syrian and Turkey.
Aleppo pepper are pods, which ripen to a burgundy color, are semi-dried, then coarsely ground. Unlike crushed red pepper, the flakes of Aleppo pepper contain no inner flesh or seeds, which is what gives it its mildness.
USE: It is commonly used in place of crushed red pepper or paprika.
FLAVOR: It has a moderate heat level with a mild, fruity flavor and cumin-like undertones, with a hint of saltiness. The heat of this pepper builds slowly and has a raisin-like flavor.
Is native to the Levant region, Egypt and the Mediterranean. It is one of the oldest known spices used for cooking, medicinally in cough syrups, and to aid in digestion.
USE: It is used as licorice flavoring for candies, foods and alcoholic drinks.
FLAVOR: Similar to fennel with a licorice taste that is sweet and fragrant.
In Arabic translates to “spices.” This mixture of spices is a staple in every Middle Eastern home. It is made of black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg and paprika.
USE: It is used to season all meats, poultry and fish and can be used in soups and stews.
FLAVOR: It has a similar taste and aroma to all-spice.
Originates in Southern India and Egypt and is also one of the most ancient spices. Cardamom is the second most expensive spice after saffron.
USE: The pods can be used whole in stews, meat and rice dishes. Is is also added to some sweet dishes and drinks, including Arab and Turkish coffee. It has a very pungent, strong flavor and a little bit goes a long way.
FLAVOR: The flavor is described as warm and eucalyptine with camphorous and lemony undertones.
Are native to Indonesia. They are traced back to the Arabs and the Chinese. Cloves are used sparingly due to their strong, overpowering flavor.
USE: To season meats, stocks and soups, and are used in many spice mixtures.
FLAVOR: Strong, warm and astringent.
Now native to Iran, coriander grows wild in many regions, it is difficult to determine its actual origin. However, evidence suggests that it originated in the Middle East near Palestine. All parts of this leafy, green plant are edible. Though the fresh leaves and dried seeds are most typically used in cooking. The leaves of coriander have a different flavor than the seeds. The word coriander more specifically refers to the seeds, while cilantro is used to refer to the leaves.
USE: In curries, Mexican dishes, pickling, and in spice mixtures for chicken and fish.
FLAVOR: The seeds have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed, which is said to have a warm, nutty, spicy, orange flavor.
Is native to Egypt and the Levant, but now grows in most hot countries, especially India, North Africa, China and America.Cumin seeds also come ground as a powder.
USE: It is used to give a strong spiced flavor to stews, meats and bean dishes.
FLAVOR: It has a distinct, strong, warm, spicy, sweet flavor.
Is an ancient herb. Its seeds were found originating in Iraq. Several countries cultivate this herb, however, India is responsible for 80% of its production. Fenugreek is used as an herb, a spice and a vegetable.
USE: In curries, as sprouted seeds and microgreens in salads, and as a spice or seasoning in rice or meat dishes.
FLAVOR: It is known for having a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple.
This spice originated centuries ago from the Middle East region. It’s made from the seeds of the Mahaleb or St. Lucie cherry. The seeds are extracted from the cherry pits and ground to a powder.
USE: It is used in small quantities to enhance the flavor of sweets and baked goods.
FLAVOR: Is said to be similar to a combination of bitter almond and cherry, and is also similar to marzipan.
Check out our Mammoul Cookie recipe with mahlab!
Originated in Greece. It is a resin from the hardened sap of a tree. They form in pea-like drops similar to tears, with a crystalline texture.
USE: It is used in chewing gum, to freshen breath, in some liquors, as well as Turkish delight and other Middle Eastern sweets, breads, pastries and ice cream.
FLAVOR: Gives a cedar like taste that purifies the breath.
Originated in Asia and the Mediterranean. Mint derives its name from the ancient Greek mythical character Minthe. It was used as a cleaning agent, in cooking, medicine, to aid in digestion, and as a breath freshener.
USE: Spearmint is used in vegetable dishes, salads, and dressings. Peppermint is used more in desserts, with fruits and ice creams. In the middle east, it’s also used for meats, vegetables, rice and stuffed grape leaves, yogurt dishes and soups. Mint tea is also very popular in the region.
FLAVOR: The flavor of Spearmint is more sweet and leaves a cooling sensation. Peppermint has a stronger menthol taste.
Are native to Asia. They are used mostly in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes.
USES: They are added to breads and cheeses, as well as used in vegetable and lentil dishes and chutneys.
FLAVOR: They are known to have a flavor similar to oregano and are slightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture.
Check out our Dried Lebneh Bites with nigella seeds!
In Arabic translates to “head of the shop, meaning top shelf or highest quality” This spice blend is from North Africa and is used in the preparation of savory dishes. There are a variety of combinations of spices that vary in different proportions depending on the region But there are always about a dozen spices used in each blend. It is commonly made of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, chili peppers, clove, dried ginger, sweet & hot paprika, fenugreek and turmeric.
USE: It can be rubbed on meats or fish and also added to rice or couscous.
FLAVOR: It is known for its warm, sweet, spiced flavor.
Saffron comes from the saffron crocus flower. Their bright, burnt orange colored stigmata, called threads, are collected and dried to become saffron. It is said to have originally been cultivated in or near Greece. However, 90% of today’s saffron comes from Iran. It is considered one of the world’s most expensive spices by weight.
USE: Saffron is mainly used as a seasoning and coloring agent for foods. It also contributes a luminous yellow-orange coloring to foods. Saffron is widely used in Persian, Indian, European, and Arab cuisines.
FLAVOR: Its aroma is often described as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet.
Originated in the Middle East and Southern Italy. It is a red or purplish-red powdered spice made from the berries and occasionally the leaves of the Sumac bush.
USE: It is used a great deal in Arabic cooking as a souring agent for meats, stews and dressings.
FLAVOR: Is said to be sour, fruity and astringent.
Dried Turkish chili pepper, also known as Isot Pepper, is cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey.
USE: It is traditionally used to season meats. It is considered less spicy than many other chili pepper varieties, but has a longer lasting heat.
FLAVOR: Is said to have a smoky raisin-like taste.
Is made of dried thyme, dried oregano, sumac, sesame seeds and salt
In Arabic translates to “thyme,” which is the main ingredient in the ever so popular spice blend. Said to have its origins in ancient Egypt, Zaatar is also extremely popular in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Depending on the region, the mix takes on slightly different forms. In Palestine, they include caraway seeds and dried thyme leaves and the mix has a brighter green color. In Lebanon, they include sumac, which gives it a deep reddish color. In Syria, they use a combination of dried ground thyme and sumac, which gives it a brownish coloration.
USE: It is eaten with bread dipped in oil or spread on flatbread; in salads; or used as a marinade for meats.
FLAVOR: Is known to have an herbal, citrus, nutty flavor.
Thanks to The Epicentre as a source.14Love