• Roast duck salad (ördek salatasi) (Sevtap Yuce)Source: Sevtap Yuce
Put those homemade spice blends and pastes to work.
21 May 2018 - 9:47 AM  UPDATED 18 May 2018 - 11:59 AM


Mix up a batch of this sweet and smoky Middle Eastern spice blend and test the far-reaching bounds of how it can be used—from seasoning vegetables, mixing it with olive oil for a quick marinade for meat, to adding to soups, tomato sauces, lentil dishes and pilafs for depth of flavour. Baharat is the Arabic word for “spices”, and spices it is indeed: the essentials are black pepper, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cloves, and may have additions like nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, allspice, paprika and saffron, depending on the region and household. Browse all recipes using baharat 

Baharat-spiced tofu with zucchini hummus and quinoa

Turn a plain block of tofu into a fragrant, tender main dish by rubbing it in baharat then frying it olive oil until golden and crisp. If you think tofu is plain or boring, this baharat-spiced tofu will have you thinking again—call it "inspired" vegetarian eating.


Chermoula is a punchy Moroccan spice and herb blend used as the base of tagines, and as a marinade or dressing for chicken, lamb and fish. Ingredients vary, but are generally along the lines of garlic, ground cumin and coriander, turmeric, sweet paprika, fresh chillies, olive oil, and lemon juice. Browse all recipes using chermoula

Chicken tagine

Chicken gets the full Moroccan treatment in this flavourful dish—cooked in a tagine with a chermoula base, saffron, herbs, olives and preserved lemon, then served with cous cous. If you don't have a tagine dish, you can use a regular saucepan. 

Chinese five spice

This spice blend is thought to have been crafted to touch on the five flavour profiles of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savoury. It's an aromatic and heady mix of star anise, fennel, cinnamon, clove and Sichuan peppercorns, which can be used in desserts as well as main meals. If you're ad-libbing it into a dish, remember that a little goes a long way. Try making your own with this Chinese five spice salt (omit salt if you prefer it straight). Browse all recipes using Chinese five spice

Chilli & five-spice squid

One of the easiest and best applications of five spice is adding it to flour and tossing seafood through mixture before frying it until golden. This squid is served with a creamy and nutty sesame mayo for a dream-team combination. 


Nuts (such as almonds or hazelnuts), sesame seeds, white peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds are combined to make the Egyptian spice blend dukkah, which is hugely varied in uses. This recipe for dukkah uses hazelnuts, plus a little salt and sugar to bring out the flavour of the spices. Browse all recipes using dukkah

Roast duck salad (ördek salatasi)

This dazzler of a Turkish salad is set to the be the star of any spreadit's colourful and filled with flavour, thanks in part to the half a cup of dukkah added. It would be a great option for "bring a plate" scenarios to picnics and friend's places.   

Roast duck salad (ördek salatasi)

Garam masala

A common misperception is that garam masala is a spice, when it's actually a mix of spices. To be precise, a mix of fennel, cumin, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, black peppercorns. It's warm, aromatic and extremely versatile blend that features prominently in Indian and South Asian dishes, especially curries, and is your best friend when it comes to one ingredient that can bring a lot of flavour. Browse all recipes using garam masala

Garam masala and coconut chicken

Mix some garam masala with yoghurt, garlic, ginger and lemon zest, add chicken thighs and leave it to marinate overnight, then you're 20 stovetop-minutes away from a simple but sensational curry. 


Popular in Moroccan cooking, harissa is a pungent paste made by chargrilling peppers and blending them with olive oil and caraway seeds. Slather it over meat or vegetables before roasting, mix it through labneh or hummous for a dip, add it to burger patties, whisk into a lemon vinaigrette for a zingy dressing, or just serve it as a condiment—there's so many ways to use this versatile pasteBrowse all recipes using harissa

Harissa bream with flat bread & homemade labneh

Cooling, creamy labneh is the perfect finishing touch for this African-inspired fish dish enriched with spoonfuls of harissa paste. Serve with plenty of flatbread to mop up every last flavour-packed drop.   

Jerk seasoning

In Caribbean cuisines, jerk can refer to both a rub or liquid marinade, and the end dish that gets the jerk treatment—most commonly, chicken or pork. It's a powerful blend dominated by allspice berries, cloves, garlic, ginger and spicy scotch bonnet chillies. Browse all recipes using jerk seasoning

Jerk chicken

Try this jerk chicken at your next barbecue for a change from your go-to marinades. It works particularly well served with slaw. 


Panch phoran

Make panch phoran, also called Bengali "five spice" is an intense mixture of earthy cumin, brown mustard, bitter fenugreek, nigella and fennel that forms the base of chutneys, potato dishes and especially lentils, and differentiates Bengali cuisine from that of other regions of India. The spice blend is usually found with the seeds left whole, which is toasted in hot ghee or oil to release the aroma. Browse all recipes using panch phoran 

Spice roasted butternut pumpkin with capered yoghurt

Everyone needs a new pumpkin recipe (especially for when autumn and winter set in), so you can consider this one yours. The yoghurt dressing for the spice-enhanced pumpkin is flavoured multi-dimensional, flavoured with deep-fried capers and panch phoran.   

Ras el hanout 

Meaning “head of the shop”, reflecting its upmarket positioning, ras el hanout is a North African spice blend of around 20-27 different spices and herbs. Stores guard their recipes closely, but you can follow this one for a simple DIY blend. Browse all recipes using ras el hanout

Lamb tagine with stewed apricots and prunes (mrouzia)

The warm, pungent flavour of ras el hanout makes it the perfect base for tagines. But don't just take our word for it, try it for yourself in this rich, sweet and savoury lamb tagine. 

Shichimi Togarashi

Meaning "seven flavours" in Japanese, this spice is found on just about every table at a noodle shop or izakaya in Japan, where it's used as a seasoning. The seven spices include: red chilli pepper, ground sansho peppers, roasted orange peel, sesame seeds, ginger, poppy seeds and nori seaweed. Browse all recipes using shichimi togarashi 

Yakitori negima

Negima is a mainstay of yakitori restaurants in Japan, which sell skewers of succulent chicken grilled over charcoal until it's touched with a smoky flavour and gets a blackened crust. Shichimi togarashi comes into the picture to balance out the rich, meaty flavours. 



Za'atar is a household staple in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. It's a fragrant and slightly nutty blend of ground dried herbs like thyme, marjoram and oregano, with toasted sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Exact recipes depend on the household. It's one of the most variable spice blends to have on hand, as you can sprinkle it on everything from salads to chicken to pizza—or just serve it up with a little dish of olive oil and a crusty loaf or some flatbread bread for an easy snack for guests. Browse all recipes using za'atar

Cauliflower, pomegranate and pine nut salad

To make this ridiculously pretty salad, za'atar is sprinkled over cauliflower before it's roasted, adding a herbal element to the diverse line up of sweet and savoury flavours. 

Spice up your life
Vanilla labneh with sweet dukkah

You will need to start this recipe the day before, as the yoghurt needs to strain overnight. Use your delicious homemade yoghurt for this recipe, or your favourite natural or Greek-style yoghurt.

Baked snapper with chermoula

Out of Africa chef Hassan M’Souli reveals how to prepare the classic Moroccan dishes of chermoula and tomato salsa. He uses them both in a colourful and flavour-packed baked snapper dish.

Beef, baharat and pine nut pies (sambousik)

This recipe is for the Lebanese version of a meat pie, but these fragrant pastries don’t require tomato sauce. You can freeze uncooked sambousik wrapped in plastic wrap for up to one month. Stand frozen at room temperature for 10 minutes before frying.

Garam masala and currant teacake

This recipe takes its inspiration from the buttery cakes often served in the teahouses of Kerala. If using a homemade garam masala mix, don’t be tempted to add any more garam masala than the recipe calls for - a little goes a long way. However, if using store-bought spice mix, you can double the quantity.

Roasted peanuts with shichimi spices and roasted nori

 Shichimi (seven flavour chilli pepper) is a blend of 7 Japanese flavours and is often served alongside soups and rice dishes. Here we've used it on roasted peanuts that are sure to be as moreish as any beer nut out there!