Middle Eastern flavors are as rich as the history and culture of each country in the region



Spices & herbs of the Middle East


Middle Eastern flavors are as rich as the history and the culture of each country in the region.

Middle eastern common herbs & spices are mint, anise, marjoram, mustard, garlic, cardamom and cloves, chile and cinnamon, sumac, za’atar & cumin.

Turmeric or saffron which is name derives from the Arabic za’fran, means to be yellow,  mahlab, poppy seeds , myrtle leaf, rur leaves, sesame seeds, coriander and more.

Whatever herb and spice in use it must be fresh.



Small tan kernels from the Rose family with a slightly bitter taste, aka English cherry , used to flavour breads, cookies, biscuits and pastries all over the Middle East. Try ½ to 1 tsp per cup of flour in your recipe. Keep whole and grind when needed.


Myrtle Leaves

In ancient times the myrtle was a fertility symbol, and wreaths of the leaves were worn at various Greek festivals. The Romans used the leaves to flavour wine. They are still used today as an alternative to bay leaves in marinades and stews. Also used in tea, biscuits, cakes, ices, sweets, salad dressing, pasta, soup, curry, sauces, fish, meat or vegetable dishes. Whole leaves can be used as a garnish in bottled vinegars.



Red powder, essential spice in Middle Eastern cookery, substitute for vinegar or lemon. Sumac comes from a tree that grows in the Middle East. A fruity, lemon-like taste. Sprinkle over salads . Tastes especially good on meats. Sumac is also a must ingredient in the spice mixture za'tar.




Iraqi spice mix , consist of chili, black pepper, paprika, cloves, cinnamon,nutmeg, cardamom, cumin and coriander.



A warm, peppery flavor used in many Middle Eastern dishes. A member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds looks like caraway seeds, light brown in color. This is no wonder, as cumin and caraway belong to the same family .



Yemenite spice combination made of black pepper, caraway seeds, saffron and cardamom



A Middle Eastern blend that in use of flavouring breads and season dishes . Brush any bread with olive oil, sprinkle with za'atar and lightly grill until toasted. 


Sesame Seeds

Pale seeds of a tall herb grown in the Middle East, are a must to the cuisine of the region. Used in breads and pastries, or as coating for stuffed dates and burekas . Tahinah (thahini) is made by it and so is halva.


Shibah (sheeba)                      

AKA tree wormwood, used often as herbal medicine , known for its bitter flavor leaves and popular in meat and vegetable stews. A small piece will flavor a large pot and heal your stomach when put in tea.



Very popular in Moroccan cuisine. Used in herbal teas, baked goods and in confections.



Derived from old Hebrew esob or Arabic word azzof  “holy herb” , used for robust potato or bean soup. Hyssop is often mixed with za'atar.



Native to North Africa, with sweet scent  which become stronger upon drying, used in pot-pourri and  to flavour sausages and jam.



Egyptian spice mix made of sesame seeds, cumin, salt, coriander seeds and nuts






Kushbara in Arabic, widely grown in the Middle East . The leaves of the coriander are known as cilantro. Spicy with strong odor. An important ingredient in Middle East region for salads, soups & beverages.




Origin from Turkey and Egypt,  anise is considered premium due to its better flavor and higher volatile oil content. Anise was enjoyed by the early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and is used whole or crushed in cookies, cakes, breads, cheese, pickles, stews, fish, and shellfish.



Throughout the Arab world, cardamom is one of the most popular spices, with cardamom coffee being a symbol of hospitality and prestige.



Caraway use was first recorded in Egypt, in the medical papyrus of Thebes in 1552 B.C



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