Middle Eastern Spice Flavours

Spices are important ingredients in making the diverse tastes of Middle Eastern cuisine available to us all.

Over the past few years there has been a resurgence in our love for Middle Eastern food.

More than ever before, Turkish food is booming in Australia. The fresh and lively flavours delight our taste buds, and nourish without being heavy.

Authors such as Yotam Ottolenghi with his books Jerusalem, Plenty and Plenty More and Australian authors Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale with Anatolia, have done much to raise the awareness of recipes from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey in particular.

Much of the appeal comes from the use of lots of fresh ingredients, judiciously spiced with a variety of culinary herbs and spices.

For those venturing into this cuisine for the first time, and for cooks familiar with Middle Eastern recipes, we have created three spice kits with spices and recipes that are flavoursome and easy to make.

 TURKISH Spice Kit contains 8 Herbie’s spices and blends;

Aleppo Pepper, Shish Kebab Spice, Green Spearmint, Cumin Ground, Sumac, Iranian Saffron, Turkish Spice Mix and Baharat.

With recipes included for making Lamb Gozleme, Skewered Lamb with Vegetables (Sis Kebap), Imam Bayildi (The Imam Swooned – pictured), Turkish Sausage Rolls (Borek), Burghul and Silverbeet Pilaf with Labneh and Tomatoes, Stuffed Cabbage Leaves (Dolmeh) with Tomato Sauce and Chicken and Vegetables (a version Tas Kebab).

PLENTY of FLAVOUR Spice Kit contains 7 Herbie’s spices and blends;

Smoked Paprika, Sumac, Aleppo Pepper, Za’atar, Baharat, Black Lime Powder, and Barberries.

With recipes included for making Fattoush, Barley Risotto with Leafy Greens, White Bean, Barberry and Fennel Salad, Marinated Haloumi, Zucchini Fritters with Yoghurt Sauce, Carrot Dip, Za’atar Crisps, Warm Eggplant Salad and Roasted Cauliflower, Nuts and Grains.

Choosing vegetarian options should not equate to eating bland or uninteresting food.  The spice blends and spices in this kit will bring out the best in your ingredients, and take your taste buds on a journey to the Middle East, were vegetables and grains are never boring or dull. Remember that, whatever the recipe says, you can put sumac with any salad!

PERSIAN SPICE KIT contains 8 Herbies spices and spice blends;

Black Lime powder (Loomi), Baharat, Barberries, Turmeric, Persian spice Mix, Fenugreek Leaves, Rose Petals and Shish Kebab Spice Mix.

With recipes included for making Lamb Shanks and Rice, Kookoo-yeh-sabzi (herb omelette), Ghormeh Sebzi (slow cooked meat), Black Olive and Parsley Salad, Koofteh Berenji (succulent meatballs with rice) and Zereshk Polo (barberry rice with chicken).

Persia has centered around modern-day Iran since the Iron Age, its cultural sphere has diffused through parts of Iraq, Afghanistan, its neighbouring post-Soviet republics (the “Stans”), and even into Turkey and India. The influence of Persian cuisine on the Medieval and Renaissance European culinary traditions cannot be overestimated (it is said that Persians invented the fork). Persian spice traders brought saffron to the Mediterranean. And long before the Genoese first ground together nuts and basil to make what we have come to call pesto, the Persians were doing it with mint, coriander, and dill to make stews served over rice and bread.   Saffron, pomegranates, mint, dill, nuts, lamb, black limes, apricots, and barberries dominate Persian/Iranian cuisine. Its cornerstone dishes are grilled meats, rice, and slow-simmered stews.