Just like the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern cuisine also shares similarities with North Indian cuisine. Common to both is the love of beans and lentils, and an abundance of spice that gives them life. Gastronomically, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon are the three countries that have had the most influence on this cuisine. Closely linked to these is also the food of North Africa.

I had been meaning to write about this wonderfully fragrant spice-blend from the Middle East-North Africa, ever since I made it as a house warming present last year. It is as much at home in my kitchen as is the garam masala. And just like for garam masala, there are hundreds of recipes for baharat too, likely changing from home to home.

It is an excellent substitute for Kashmiri garam masala (I know – that recipe is also pending!). I use a pinch of this here and there, wherever I need a hint of spice and yet am reluctant to use my Punjabi garam masala. The spices used are almost the same, yet the proportion changes the final outcome, and provides the change our palates constantly seek.

Without much further ado (and before I lose that scrap of paper forever):

Baharat and Lime Marmalade: house warming gifts last year!

(Adapted from Ellen’s Kitchen)

1/4 C black peppercorns
1/8 C coriander seeds
1/8 C cinnamon or cassia bark
1/8 C cloves
1/4 C cumin seeds
1 T cardamom pods
1 T ground nutmeg
1/8 C ground cayenne pepper (laal mirch – I used Kashmiri mirch)

Lightly roast the whole spices in a heavy pan for 2 minutes, till they just begin to release their fragrance. Cool. Grind to a fine powder and mix with powdered nutmeg and red chilli powder. Store in an air tight jar.

grilled lamb
Yummy grilled lamb with vegetables

The spice blend is also great as a meat rub. I tried it with lamb, the meat of choice allover the middle east. And in place of garam masala in Kashmiri mutsch. No, that doesn’t make it fusion. Baharat, though, is a result of fusion of centuries of cooking styles; a delicious expression of the collective influence of Arab, African, Berber, Ottomon, French, Italian, and Spanish ingredients.

Check out Bahraini Baharat from A Cook’s Cottage.

36 thoughts on “Baharat

  1. Well, you are the real spice girl, i have never even heard about it. I made your garam masala last weekend, it tasted so fresh and different from the readymade garam masala we buy. Thank you.

    Me, a spice girl! ๐Ÿ˜†
    And now you must try this masala!

  2. Do I see labels?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Very nice gifts. You are definitely invited to my next house-warming party!

    As far as I know (rather, can find printed) baharat is used in the cooking of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E.(Egypt), Qatar, and Oman. Now, if I could only locate a loomi, a noomi, or a limu omani! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Include a return ticket and I promise to bring more than that!

    Even I want to lay my hands on a loomi – you don’t think we can figure out how to make ’em? After dehydrated whey, this should be a walk in the park!

  3. I’m buying a house soon, too. But I don’t want just the spice and marmalade, I want that grilled lamb, too.

    You used it in mutsch? OMG. That’s blasphemy.

    No, really, the Kashmiri garam masala and this are quite similar! And it is used in recipes for Moroccan meat balls!

    (Not everyone gets the same gift – I vary the gift according to the personality of the receiver ๐Ÿ˜€ Wonder what you should get…).

  4. Baharat, that name by itself is so inviting! Lovely recipe and perfect companion for desi dishes.

    You, I’m sure will find quite a few innovative uses for it!


    someone’s steling not just posts, but comments too, as they are posted. more about the scum at dining hall.

    since they link your page, comments and all, i’m posting this here so that it show up on thier site.

    ‘indian cooking recipes’ has been reported for content theft to their host by us. more about them at dining hall..

    every single post on their site is plagiarised.

    anita, please report them to google ads and whoever they get ads from.

    The reason your comment didn’t show up, Bee, is because that url is recognised as spam by WordPress! And as I de spammed your comment I saw an endless sequence of pingbacks from there! My entire blog is there virtually!

  6. First of all, thanks for a post on baharat. I will surely try this. And, ‘Indian Cooking Recipes’, my posts during last few months are there too. Gosh, when this will stop.

  7. I might have a few ideas for what to get TLO. Let’s see now…:-)
    Loomi-making doesn’t seem difficult, no. Boil ’em in salted water for a bit and dry ’em out real good. I found a really interesting recipe for prawn/shrimp kofkas that contains baharat and loomi powder, but it took me until today to procure some ground lamb to finally try out your mutsch, so lord knows when I’ll get around to buying shrimp! ๐Ÿ™‚ Shaurabat adas would be a more-likely, near-future, post for me. But oh, what a way with dates the Middle East has! Do you find good ones in your neck of the woods?

    So, whole nimbu boiled in salted water for a bit (2 min?) and then left (whole) in the sun till it is all shrivelled up and dried …

    Oooh, we love dates here in India! Especially in the winter time! Our own are basically wild ones and not that great, but the markets here in Delhi are flooded with dates from the Middle East. And our prized dry fruits, especially raisins (kishmish), are sourced from Kabul! Have you had those? You’ll never go back to California raisins, ever!

    The Arabs, they make rasam too?! ๐Ÿ˜€

    ‘Real’ mutsch at last, eh?! ๐Ÿ˜†

    [PS: What do you think I should get her?]

  8. What do you know, a Middle Eastern Garam Masala… Never heard of this before … in fact I read the title as Bharat, and was wondering why you are talking about Middle Easter Cuisine in the first sentence ๐Ÿ™‚
    Merry Christmas to you and family Anita…

    Yup… and there are more like that where this came from!
    And a Merry Christmas to you and yours too, my friend.

  9. reply from dreamhost:

    If a copyrighted work that you own or represent is being used without authorization by a website that DreamHost hosts, you can submit a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice requesting removal of the material. While it is not necessary to have a legal professional prepare the document, it is recommended. Any competent intellectual property attorney should be able to draw up a formal DMCA notice in a few minutes.

    You can read more about this process, here:

    I have reported – will likely get the same reply…

  10. Anita that is just perfect to give that most required change on your plates once in a while. I will give it a try. Can I use it just the way I use the garam masala??? Merry Christmas to you & yours

    Yes, use it wherever you would use garam masala…
    Merry Christmas!

  11. 3-5 minute boiling actually. Fairly simple to do. Reminds me of the preserved/pickled by natural fermentation lemons of Morrocco that I keep in stock for certain, much-loved chicken dishes that eventually I’ll get around to posting, after, uh, certain other chicken dishes. ๐Ÿ˜€ But, apparantly that citrus note in gravied dishes seems popular throughout the region, and why not?! Lots of antioxidants in the rind!

    No, I’ve never tried Kabuli raisins; I would love to of course. Once in awhile I can find decent, fairly-freshly-dried Medjool dates for sale, but that’s about it. They remind me so much of caramel(milk halvah?) that I can only imagine what they are like fresh. Finally I got to try fresh figs last year: unforgettable!

    What to get TLO? Perhaps a nice helmet and some stilts? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€

    You think you have pending chicken dishes?! No!!!
    Will have to give the lemons a try since I won’t find them in the market.

  12. Have never made my own spice mix… I’ll try this ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t have garam/amti masala as it triggers acidity.

    Merry X’mas

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  13. I’ve never heard of baharat though I live in the ME!!! Maybe I shd take some cooking classes from the Arabs!:)

    C’mon Jyotsana, you need to get to the souk (not the gold souk!)…

  14. Ummm…I think your blog might have dandruff… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Everyone/everything sheds around this time… Merry Christmas! I hope it was a white one!

  15. Elaichi-man, look at ’em white things at the bottom of the page! Yikes! Here they come again…

    Methinks you just need to move right back to the Front Range. We got lots of record-breaking white yesterday and we are getting more tomorrow. And it’s the real stuff, that too! The nice kind. Powdery. Fluffy. Glisten in the sun like diamonds. Yah. That kind.

    Now I have to get out of here. I’m getting a migraine watching those pixels drop. Arrrrrrgh!

    Sigh. I know the kind…but, from where I am this is all I can do, so stop complaining… Besides it is for a very short time; it will disappear on its own after Jan 2. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  16. Gee, not much warning. I should have come here before looking outside. Yah, it’s snowing now…really pretty! I love the diamond snow…but we’re getting the big-flake, heavy, wet stuff. I needed just ONE thing at the grocery store. Saffron. So..I had to drive reeeal slow, like 20mph, all the way there. I somehow came home with a bagful of stuff. Some very nice okra, and after-x-mas-marked-down chocolate. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is AdBlock?

    Saffron…so what did you cook with it? Did you make a batch of your famed garam masala?
    So happy you had a white one!

  17. Dandruff! lol. I prefer the snow though. Do you sell homemade products? I like yourblog. you should get your blogs at labnol and blogadda.

    Hi Hari.
    Yes, Pel is quite the funny man here. He and that Manisha gal, they keep this party rolling.
    And, no, I don’t sell homemade products…why, is there something you’d like? 99% of the recipes featured here are very simple and can be made by beginner cooks! So don’t be shy, go ahead and get into the kitchen! ๐Ÿ˜€
    As for labnol, it seems I have been there for a few months already!

  18. WOW!
    Baharat and Lime Marmalade are such ‘thoughtful’ house warming gifts and only people like you can think of these ๐Ÿ™‚ I am impressed. Lovely post!
    And lucky are the people who got these ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Blogging!

    So, when are you coming up with an excuse for me to bring you a present? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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