Baharat, also known as Lebanese Seven Spice or Advieh, has become one of the many ‘go-to’ spice blends along with Ras el Hanout and Chermoula. Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago! This is the article: Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has
Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago!
This is the article:
Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has used his skills to develop one of the most exotic Middle East spice blends, Baharat.
Imagine a spice blend that fills your head with diverse aromas, is not hot, yet conveys all the romantic fragrances of everything that is spice. One such blend is the traditional Middle Eastern spice mixture called Baharat. Baharat is made by blending Spanish mild paprika with freshly ground Indian black pepper from the Malabar coast, Indian cumin seed, Indonesian cassia, Madagascar cloves, Australian grown coriander seeds, green cardamom seeds and nutmegs from the Banda Islands. The result is a beautifully balanced spice with a woody bouquet, aromatic bay-rum notes, mellifluous cinnamon sweetness, deep pungency and an apple-like fruitiness. The flavour is round and full-bodied, sweet and astringent with a satisfying and appetite stimulating pepper bite.
Baharat is used in Middle Eastern cooking in much the same way as the Indians use garam masala. It adds a nuance of the exotic Middle East to winter warming dishes and is delectable rubbed onto lamb shanks that are browned in a pot and made into a casserole. Baharat compliments lamb so well, cutlets and even roasts are improved greatly when the meat is dusted with Baharat and a little salt to taste, allowed to dry-marinate in the fridge for an hour and then cooked. Baharat features in recipes for tomato sauces, soups, fish curries and barbecued fish. A delicious chicken salad can be made by dusting chicken tenderloins with Baharat, pan-fry, slice and allow to cool. Place on a green salad and drizzle over a dressing made from 2 parts olive oil, 1 part pomegranate molasses and ½ part toasted sesame seeds. Baharat also compliments vegetarian and vegan recipes when used sparingly.
One of Herbie’s favourite slow-cooked winter recipes is this Baharat Beef with Olives. Deeply rich in flavour and gently spiced, it is adored by lovers of comfort food. For those who like their food a little spicier, add 1teaspoon Aleppeo Pepper to 1 tablespoon of Herbie’s Baharat Spice Mix.
In the exotic spice markets of Istanbul, and various other Middle Eastern countries, you will see lots of signs stating BAHARAT. However Baharat is the generic word often used there to simply describe ‘spices’. None the less, this special blend that will only vary depending on the spice blender’s preferences, has successfully appropriated the name!
To have the world of Herbs & Spices demystified, and find out how useful they are in making healthy economical meals so tasty and satisfying, read The Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill.