No products in the cart.
Baharat 7 Spice (Usages & Recipe)
Whether you have Arabic roots or just fancy Middle Eastern cooking, you might have heard about Baharat. Baharat (also known as Seven Spice or 7 Spice) is one of the most common Middle Eastern spice blends. It contains staple ingredients that make Baharat a great addition to many hearty main dishes.
Baharat is available in most Middle Eastern grocery stores, but you can also make your own Seven Spice blend from a few ground spices. In this article, I’ll tell you how to make Baharat at home and give you a few recipe ideas to get started.
What is Baharat?
Baharat (also known as 7 Spice) is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend. The name baharat derives from the Arabic word for “spice”. Baharat is a combination of warm spices and makes a wonderful spice blend for hearty dishes, typically rice dishes and meat.
As it’s with most Middle Eastern dishes, there’s not just that one recipe out there. In every country of the Middle East, the ingredients are a little different. In fact, even every region and every family slightly twists the recipe to match their liking.
Spices that you’ll find in almost every baharat recipe are cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon. Those four spices are true staples in Arab cooking. The remaining ingredients vary. I like to add paprika, black pepper and nutmeg to mine. Depending on the ingredients and the amounts used, baharat can have a brownish to reddish color.
Middle Eastern baharat is very similar to the Indian garam masala. In fact, many of the spices are the same (cumin, coriander, cardamom and black pepper). The Indian garam masala also has bay leaves and fennel seeds, which isn’t the case with baharat.
However, Middle Eastern 7 Spice is very different from Japanese Seven Spice (shichimi togarashi), though they both have the same name. They literally have nothing in common apart from their name.
Some of the ingredients for baharat are available as whole spices, such as cumin (cumin seeds) or cinnamon. If you want to go the extra mile, you can toast the whole spices together in a pan, then let them cool and grind them for the spice blend. That will certainly give you the best result.
However, if you want to make baharat quickly and effortlessly, you can simply use ground spices (i.e. powdered cumin instead of grinding cumin seeds yourself). The exact method and amounts needed are indicated in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Cumin: Cumin is by far the signature spice of Middle Eastern cuisine. You can use cumin seeds (toast and grind) or ground cumin (cumin powder).
- Coriander: Coriander is another staple spice. It has a floral and slightly sweet note which tastes great in combination with cumin. In fact, cumin and coriander are often used together. For baharat, you can use coriander seeds or ground coriander (coriander powder).
- Paprika: Sweet paprika powder is a must if you want the best baharat. Even when making baharat from whole spices, I always add ready-made sweet paprika powder for my baharat (although you could make your own from dried sweet peppers).
- Cardamom: You can use cardamom pods (use the seeds in the pods, roast and grind) or cardamom powder.
- Cinnamon: While cinnamon is commonly used for desserts in Western countries, you’ll commonly find it in hearty dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine. For baharat, you can use cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon (1 stick is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of powder).
- Black peppercorns: I usually add some extra salt and pepper to most of my dishes, for which reason I keep the amount of pepper in my baharat on the low side. Same as for the other spices, you can use whole peppercorns (roast and grind) or powdered pepper.
- Nutmeg: A hint of nutmeg powder rounds off your baharat.
How to Make Baharat (Step-by-Step)
I’d like to show you two ways to make Baharat. First, I’m going to show you how to make baharat from whole spices which yields the best result. Secondly, how to make baharat from ground spices (takes 1 minute at max).
Baharat from Whole Spices
Step 1: Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods
For cardamom, we’ll use only the seeds which are inside the pods. Crack open the pods (you can use a small knife to cut along the seam of each pot). Remove the seeds (small, black seeds) and discard the empty pods. Place on a dry surface and allow to dry for 1-2 hours (optionally – makes the grinding process easier).
Step 2: Break cinnamon sticks
Use a knife or a pestle and mortar to cut the cinnamon sticks into small pieces. That will make it easier for your grinder.
Step 3: Grind the nutmeg
Nutmeg powder can be made from whole nutmeg. As a rule of thumb, one small whole nutmeg yields 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg. You can grate a full nutmeg, use part of it for your baharat and store the remainder in a separate container. Use a small grater to finely grate the nutmeg.
Step 4: Toast spices in a pan
Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds (dried, without pods, see step 1), cinnamon sticks (broken, see step 2), nutmeg (grinded, see step 3), black peppercorns and paprika powder to a pan. Toast for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally. The spices should be lightly roasted but not turn too dark!
Step 5: Leave to cool
Remove the toasted spices from the pan, transfer onto a plate (or any other dry surface) and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
Step 6: Grind
Transfer all spices into a grinder and grind for 1-2 minutes (depending on how finely grinded you’d like your baharat to be).
Step 7: Transfer and store
Transfer the baharat into an airtight container or spice jar.
Baharat from Ground Spices
Baharat from ground spices is very easy to make. All you have to do is to mix all ground spices in a small bowl, stir well to combine, and then transfer them into an airtight container or spice jar. It’s a very easy and quick method if you need baharat right away or don’t have whole spices available. By the way, I’ve indicated the equivalent in ground spices in the notes section in the recipe card.
How to Use Baharat
Baharat is one of the signature spice blends in Arab cuisine. Baharat is basically a blend of the most popular Middle Eastern spices which makes it particularly versatile. It’s commonly used for rice dishes (from flavored rice to one-pot rice dishes with vegetables or meat), vegetables and legumes (such as lentils and beans) as well as meat (beef and lamb) and chicken dishes.
Some delicious Middle Eastern dishes with baharat to get you started:
- Mujadara (one-pot dish with rice and lentils)
- Stuffed peppers (bell peppers stuffed with rice and ground beef)
- Musakhan (chicken legs on bread with onions)
Make Ahead & Storage
When using whole spices, Baharat takes only 10 minutes to prepare. Most people will prepare a larger batch to consume over several days or weeks. The quick method from ground spices takes 1 minute to prepare, but can also be made ahead of time.
Baharat can be stored in an airtight container or spice jar for 3-6 months.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Baharat (Seven Spice)
Baharat (Seven Spice) is a signature Middle Eastern spice blend. Made from a few staple spices, baharat is a popular seasoning to flavor rice dishes, meat and fish.
- 2.5 tsp cumin seeds see powder equivalents in notes
- 2.5 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick small
- 3/4 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 nutmeg small
Baharat from whole spices:
- Crack open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and discard the pods. Leave the seeds to dry for 1-2 hours (optionally).
- Break the cinnamon sticks into small pieces (using a knife or a pestle and mortar).
- Grind the nutmeg with a grater.
- Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, grated nutmeg, black peppercorns and paprika powder to a pan. Toast on medium for 3-4 minutes until lightly roasted. Stir occasionally to prevent browning too much.
- Remove from the pan and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
- Transfer into a grinder and grind into a powder for 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer to a spice jar and store for 3-6 months.
Baharat from ground spices:
- Mix all ground spices in a small bowl, stir well to combine.
- Transfer to a spice jar and store for 3-6 months.
- Making baharat from ground spices? Here are the amount of ground spices you need for 1 small jar:
- 2 tsp cumin powder (equivalent to 2.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander powder (equivalent to 2.5 tsp coriander seeds)
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder (equivalent to seeds from 10-12 cardamom pods)
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder (equivalent to 1 small cinnamon stick)
- ½ tsp black pepper (equivalent to ¾ tsp black peppercorns)
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder (equivalent to ½ small nutmeg)
Calories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 16mgPotassium: 485mgFiber: 12gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1078IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 215mgIron: 8mg
Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.
Did you enjoy this recipe?Let me know how it was in the comments below or tag welcome2jordan.blog on Instagram.