Baharat is a spice mix popular in Turkish, Iranian as well as in Arabic cuisine. This spice mixture is prepared by combining various flavorful spices used in Arabic cuisine. This mix is usually incorporated in the recipes as a condiment for flavoring purposes. Mutton, chicken and fish dishes are fondly spiced and flavored with this blend of spices.
There are many variants of baharat recipe that includes distinctive spices, but the basic recipe is the same. Tunisian as well as Persian cuisines exhibit some highly popular versions of baharat. This spice mix is somewhat similar to Chinese ‘five spice mix’ and Indian ‘garam masala’.
Baharat is not only popular in Arabic cuisine, but it has great significance in other cuisines as well, owing to its aromatic flavor and quality to provide delectable essence. Baharat recipe is quite simple and can be prepared in advance for later use. Some of the most popular dishes that can be prepared with this spice blend are lamb curry, fish soup and eggplant dishes.
History and Origin of Baharat Recipe
Baharat is believed to have originated in North African cuisine. The name of this popular spice mix is derived from the Arabic word ‘baharat’ that means ‘spice’. Though it is considered a North African native, but most of its uses are seen in Arabic and Turkish cuisine. Traditionally, the recipe of baharat is quite similar in all regions, but few versions are prepared with some distinctive ingredients. Such as Turkish recipe is relatively similar, but contains one or two different ingredients than Arabic version.
Culinary Uses of Baharat
Baharat is a spice mix that is typically used to season various meats such as lamb, chicken or fish. It is considered an all-purpose spice for enhancing the flavor of the dish. Soups, stews and even sauces are also flavored with this aromatic spice blend.
It is a pleasant inclusion in various lentil as well as rice dishes such as pulao, pilaf and biryani. The taste of your leftover dishes such as meatloaf or stew can also be jazzed up with the generous use of baharat. Barbeque and grilled meats and vegetables are usually rubbed with this spice mix. It is a final flavor enhancer and added to many dishes before stir-frying. The true flavors of the baharat can be savored if it is added to the pan in hot oil or butter before adding the other ingredients.
Though it is an ingredient for many recipes, baharat recipe includes some of the most flavor spices such black peppercorns, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cumin and paprika. These mentioned spices are combined in a particular proportion to form this wonderful spice mix.
Cuisines Commonly Making Baharat
Middle Eastern cuisine is mainly popular for using baharat as an ingredient in most of their grilled and barbeque recipes. Soups and stews are also flavored with this aromatic ingredient.
Arabic, Iranian, Persian and Lebanese food make extensive use of baharat. It is mainly used to season their lamb dishes. In Tunisia, a special baharat recipe is prepared with mint, which is popular for its flavor and distinctive aroma.
Methods of Preparation of Recipes Using Baharat
• Grilling – This is the most common method of cooking recipes using baharat. Any kind of baharat recipe is used to be rubbed on lamb, meat or fish that is grilled before serving.
• Stir-frying – This spice mix is heated in oil to extract its real flavor and then stir-fried with meats and vegetables.
• Marinade – It is typically mixed with wet ingredients such as yogurt and onion mixture to be used as a marinade for meat, poultry and fish.
Buying and Storing of Baharat
Though baharat can easily be prepared at home, the commercially packed baharat recipe is more popular across the globe. It should be purchased if sold in a sealed container or packet.
While storing, it should be kept in an air-tight jar at room temperature to preserve its natural flavor. For extra shelf life it may also be kept in refrigerator.
Nutritive Value of Baharat
Baharat is a mixture of various spices such as cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. All these spices and other additional ingredients are highly beneficial for health. This spice mix is helpful in digestion. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron are present in abundance in this blend.