Bountiful Baharat: The All-Purpose Spice of the Middle East

This bold and beautiful spice blend is a staple seasoning throughout the Middle East and Eastern Meditteranean. A combination of aromatic, savory, and sweet spices, baharat will soon become your new favorite pantry ingredient. 

What is Baharat?  

Like garam masala of India or ras el hanout of Northern Africa, baharat is the common, everyday, spice blend popular throughout the Middle East. Translated to mean simply ‘spice’ in Arabic, baharat is used in everything and anything; seasoning soups, stews, proteins, vegetables, and grains. As a spice blend, the most common ingredient combinations are; black pepper, coriander, paprika, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon with other regional variations also including sumac, saffron, dried chilies, and turmeric. The whole spices are ground into a fine powder that can range in color from bright red to a rusty brown. The flavor is not all that different from garam masala; earthy, sweet, aromatic, and slightly smoky. 

How to use Baharat 

As a Marinade 

Baharat can be combined with other ingredients to make a marinade. Add baharat to a blend of oil and acid (like vinegar, wine, or citrus), or whisk it into yogurt for a highly seasoned sauce that can be used as a marinade or dipping sauce. Meaty, grilled kebabs are a classic and delicious pairing for yogurt sauce. Try this recipe for baharat chicken kebabs

As a Dry Rub  

Elevate your next barbeque with baharat; it makes the perfect spice rub for steaks and chops. We love this baharat rub recipe for barbecued ribeye

As a Flavor Enhancer 

Baharat is a unique ingredient that can enhance all of your side dishes. It is perfect for steamed, stewed, or sauteed vegetables and absolutely amazing in rice or grain dishes. Use this authentic recipe for Middle Eastern spiced chickpea rice for inspiration. 

Where to find Baharat 

Baharat might be a little tricky to buy locally, but grocery stores specializing in Middle Eastern ingredients will carry baharat and, on occasion, gourmet grocers will too. A safe bet is to source and buy baharat online. There are a number of fantastic purveyors with varying price points that will sell and ship your new favorite spice blend directly to you such as, La Boit NYC, The Spice House, and Savory Spice Shop.

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