Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
15 May 2013 - 9:41 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


Couscous is known as a gift from Allah and is a staple of North African countries. When prepared traditionally, fine semolina is rubbed with super fine semolina to coat until it resembles a grain. When steamed it becomes light and fluffy.


Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower and also the world's most expensive spice. It is used both for its distinct flavour and colour. Too much can be overpowering.


Cinnamon or cassia bark is harvested from the bark of the tree with cinnamon being much finer than cassia.


Cumin is available both as seeds and ground and is an essential spice in curry blends.

Sweet paprika

Sweet paprika is made from a sweeter, milder variety of capsicum. It has a good depth of flavour and also adds a vibrant red colour.

Orange blossom water

A distilled water with the flavour of orange derived from the essential oil found in the blossom that is used in sweet and savoury dishes. It is also splashed onto the palms of guests when greeting them into the home. 

Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons are lemons that have been preserved in salt and either brine or oil. Kept away from light for at least 40 days, their flavour changes from acidic to mellow and sweet. Used as an ingredient, in marinades and as a garnish.


Harissa is a paste made from chillies, garlic and oil and often flavoured with ground coriander and cumin. Served as an accompaniment with many meals.