Middle East & Africa
The Middle East includes Arab, Iranian, Israeli, Kurdish, and Turkish cuisines. Some common ingredients among these include sesame seeds, pitas, honey, sumac, barley, mint, parsley, chickpeas, garlic, yogurt, pomegranates, eggplant, and dates. Some of our favorite Middle Eastern dishes are kebabs, shawarma (meat cooked on a rotating spit – think gyros), dolma (stuffed vegetables), and falafel. Two of our favorite spice blends from this area of the world are Syrian Za'atar and Israeli Za’atar, combinations of dried thyme and sumac, a delicious blend to serve with oil and bread or to sprinkle on your favorite Middle Eastern dish.
Common spices and herbs used throughout African countries include cumin seeds, garlic, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, paprika, and smoked paprika. One of our favorite blends from Tunisia is Harissa, a hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers. Another favorite blend from this area of the world is Berbere, the backbone of Ethiopian cooking, known for its firey, bright red color and its smoky, spicy flavor. Last but certainly not least, the spice blend Ras El Hanout finds its origins in northern Africa. It’s a blend of the region’s best ingredients, including mace, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, allspice, white pepper, and nutmeg.