Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BHARAT - Middle Eastern Spice Mix

I thought it will be wise to add recipes for the spice mix of each country I am talking and sharing their food with you, and we start with the Lebanese Spice Mix.

I remember since I was a child my mother, used to buy her spices whole in bulk, she will wait for a hot sunny days to dry her spices in the sun, and if she is not satisfied, she will toast them in the oven for 5-8 minutes on low, just to take out any humidity. The warm spices will be easier to grind very finely in the Jorn and Mdakah (mortar and pestle). She will work on them for couple of hours until they are finely grind (with our help) using a fine strainer to make sure that they turned to a fine powder. These days finding an electric spice machine is very easy, and almost at any supermarket.
The flavour of home made spices worth every effort.
This recipe shows you how to use your dried rosebuds, if you have a rose bush in your garden, You can pick the fresh buds, before they bloom, wash them and dry them in the sun and then add them to your spice mix. The Lebanese use the rose buds to prepare rose jam, and our famous distilled Rose Water, for all Middle Eastern Desserts and sweets, and also a refreshing drink. The roses give a sweet nice flavor to your spices.

Mom's Lebanese Seven Spices Mix

200 gm whole black pepper
200 gm whole all spice
200 gm dried rose petals
100 gm cinnamon sticks
75 gm  whole cloves
75 gm whole nutmeg
75 gm cardamom whole (only the seeds inside the pods)
put the spices on a clean try and let them toast in the sun for couple of days before grounding them.
If you are very careful you can toast them on top of the stove making sure they are toasting and not burning. 

Lebanese Blend II

¨ 4 whole nutmegs
¨ 4 whole mace
¨ 8 sticks of cinnamon
¨ 1 1/2 tbsp white peppercorns corns
¨ 20 allspice corns
¨ 12 cloves corn
¨ 12 cardamom pods (optional)
¨ 12 -15 dried rosebuds
¨ 11/2 tbsp black peppercorn

Moroccan Blend

¨ 4 whole nutmegs
¨ 10 dried rosebuds
¨ 12 cinnamon sticks
¨ 12 blades mace
¨ 1 tsp aniseed
¨ 8 pieces turmeric (or 2tbsp)
¨ 2 small pieces orrisroot
¨ 2 dried cayenne peppers
¨ ½ tsp lavender
¨ 1 tbsp white peppercorns
¨ 2 pieces galingale
¨ 2 tbsp whole ginger root
¨ 6 cloves
¨ 24 allspice berries
¨ 20 white or green cardamom pods
¨ 4 black cardamom pods

Middle Eastern Blend - used in any Middle Eastern recipe
¨ ½ oz allspice berries
¨ 1 oz black peppercorns
¨ ½ ox galingale
¨ ½ oz mace
¨ 1 ½ whole nutmeg
¨ 10 cardamom pods
¨ 1 ½ oz dried gingerroot
¨ ½ oz cinnamon sticks
¨ ¼ ox turmeric
¨ 3 dried rosebuds
¨ 1 clove

Place the above ingredients from either recipe in a spice machine and blend till its fine.
Place in an airtight container or Mason jar. And try always to use fresh spices; it makes lots of difference in flavoring the food you are cooking.

Note: The recipes are based on flavours you prefer, and if you prefer one more than the other, you can adjust it, but make sure keeping the balance, to achieve the right flavor in your food.

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