Friday, 11 January 2008

The spice of life!

Some time back, I was asking my dear Turkish friend Se about a Turkish spice blend whose name translates as "hot spices". She hadn't heard of it then (Turkish cuisine varying significantly from area to area), but recently got back to me to say that a friend of hers had, and had just brought some of that very mix back from Turkey. Better still, she would even give me some! Wahoo. I can't wait to try it in some kofte that I am planning to make soon.

I have been collecting herb and spice blend recipes found on the Net for a couple of years. Mainly because I can't let a tasty-sounding mix I come across in a recipe go un-researched, and also because I regularly use 2 US cookbooks--Saving Dinner and Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way--to make up my weekday menus. Both of these contain lots of herb and spice mixes that I may only use once or twice a year; not enough to warrant buying a bottle (assuming I can find one), particularly when I have just about all of the required herbs and spices loose in two cupboards, a drawer and on the counter top--the places a foodie must stash her spices when she has a kitchen the size of a shoe box (g).

So, to keep all these recipes together and allow me to declutter the little bits of paper I have them scribbled down on, I am retyping them here so that others can also enjoy them as much as I have. Naturally, I tip my cap to the kind people who shared them on the Net to begin with.

Taco seasoning mix
1 tbsp mild chili powder (reduce amount if using cayenne; perhaps a couple of shakes)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Italian herb mix
2 tsp each basil, marjoram and oregano
1 tsp sage

Mixed spice (this seems to be a Commonwealth mix as it is almost unheard of in the US, apparently)

1/2 tbsp each allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp each cloves, coriander and ginger

Cajun seasoning mix
3/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp each onion powder, garlic powder and ground red pepper
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano

Non-hot curry powder (a de-fanged mix; you'll probably need to use more of this than regular curry powder)

3 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp each ginger, turmeric and coriander
1/2 tsp each cardamom and garlic powder

Fragrant sweet spices (excellent in porridge and sweet things in place of cinnamon)

1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp each poppy seeds, cloves, cardamom and rose petals (rose petals are not essential, but if you have them, put in as much as you like; they're very subtle)

Middle Eastern 7-spice (also known as sabah baharat; interestingly, this recipe has 8 ingredients)

1 tbsp each ground black pepper, paprika and cumin
1/2 tbsp each coriander and ground cloves
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

Tagine spice blend (I haven' t tried this Moroccan blend, but it sounds delish. It comes from what looks like an authority on spices, from a recipe that is begging to be tried--if parsnips ever show up in downtown Yokohama (g))

2 tbsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp each cinnamon and chili powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp each ground cloves and cardamom

Turkish baharat (from an excellent online spice resource. You'll also find the kofte recipe I'm going to use to test-run my new "hot spices" in on this site)

2 tbsp each ground black pepper and cumin
1 tbsp each coriander, ground mint and cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
Pinch of cinnamon

Spice it up and enjoy!


Malaka said...

How nice & convenient!
I will refer to them when I make the ethnic foods.

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to have discovered your site. I can get these spice mixes on the Internet, but the shipping costs kill me! Since I stock all of these spices, I make them up in larger quantities for my Mideastern and Indian cooking! Thanks. mizschill

Saffron said...

Hi mizschill, and thanks for stopping by. Sounds like we're on the same page with the cooking. Ditto the spices!

liz said...


I have some Khmeli suneli on hand that I got in Georgia. When I run out, I'd like to make it myself. Do you know the ingredients, etc.? Thanks!

Saffron said...

Hi Liz and welcome to my blog!

I hadn't heard of khmeli suneli, but It sounded intriguing.

Googling around, I found these recipes that might be useful:

Variant spellings are Chmeli Suneli, Xmeli Suneli and Hmeli Suneli, so you may be able to find other recipes by Googling these.

I also liked this blog post with some more info on the blend:

I've never made Georgian food, but now might be a good time (and if I remember rightly there are some recipes in Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food). Thanks for the suggestion.

Fragbert said...

As a foodie who grew up in the UK (and still live here) I was interested to see the 'Mixed spice' recipe. It is indeed very commonly used in traditional British (and probably Commonwealth for all I know) spiced cakes and breads.

It may be of interest that caraway is often included. Commercial mixes often contain considerable (unreasonable?) amounts of caraway. This could be because it is cheaper than most other spices.

The recipe posted looks pretty standard, but like all these things there is a fair bit of variation. In any case extra of a particular spice is often added, treating the mixed spice as a base.

Saffron said...

Hi Fragbert,

Thanks for visiting and for the caraway tip.

We emigrated to Australia from the UK and you can get "Mixed Spice" in any supermarket in Oz. NZ bloggers mention it as well, so it seems to be common enough there. Not sure about Canada.

I thought this particular mix was a bit allspicey for me, and might cut down that spice or leave it out next time. My current fav is sweet fragrant spices with rose. It's great on stewed apples and in porrige!