Spice Mixture Index

In this index, I shall list all spice blends mentioned in my pages. Descriptions are very basic here; to learn more about any mixture, read the article on the corresponding single spice.

Baharat - Berebere - Bouquet garni - Bumbu - Chinese Five Spice powder - Curry powder - Dukka - Fines Herbes - GÔlat dagga - Garam masala - Herbes de Provenše - Jerk - Mole - Panch phoron - Quatre Úpices - Ras el Hanout - Sambaar Powder - Shichimi togarashi - Thai curry pastes - Worcestershire Sauce - Zahtar - Zhoug


Baharat (see paprika)
A mixture common to flavour mutton in the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf; usually, the powder is shortly fried in butter before usage. Baharat contains, besides pungent paprika, chiles and black pepper, a variety of aromatic sweet spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom), furthermore cumin and coriander.

Berebere (see long pepper)
Ethiopian cuisine at its best, combining elements from both Arabic and Indian cooking styles to this highly aromatic and very hot mixture: Long pepper and chiles make up for pungency, whereas cardamom, allspice and others cause a sweet and harmonic fragrance.

Bouquet garni (see parsley)
A bundle of fresh herbs, tied together to allow easy removal. In France, it nearly always contains parsley and thyme; furthermore, chervil is a frequent component and sometimes bay leaves or even orange peel. Variants are used in Germany and Italy..

Bumbu (see lemon grass)
This term refers to Indonesian spice pastes of varying pungency, which are composed individually for each dish. By mass, they mostly consist of onions, but their taste is usually dominated by chiles and garlic; further common ingredients are lemon grass, greater galangale, ginger and Indonesian bay-leaves. Analogous pastes used in the regional cuisine of Bali are called jangkap; see lesser galangale for an example.

Chinese Five Spice powder (see star anis)
This very aromatic and intensive mixture combines star anis with cassia, cloves, fennel and sichuan pepper. It is not hot, but to be used with care.

Curry powder (see curry leaves)
A substitute designed for British colonial officers used to Indian food. The mixture tries to imitate Indian taste by massive amounts of coriander and cumin besides some chiles, but has little (or nothing) to do with curry leaves. It may be rather hot, but usually it is not.

Dukka (see thyme)
An effective, spicy recipe from Egypt, combining nuts with pepper, cumin and thyme. The mixture may either be used as a seasoning for mutton stews or, mixed with olive oil, as a spread for Egypt white bread.

Fines Herbes (see chives)
This classical French composition combines four fresh herbs (chives, parsley, chervil and tarragon). Mostly suited for very fine and delicate dishes.

GÔlat dagga (see grains of paradise)
This Tunisian "five spice mixture" combines the pungent tones of pepper and grains of paradise with the rich scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Moderately hot, very well suited for Arabic stews.

Garam masala (see cumin)
Aromatic mixture based on cumin and coriander in combination with sweet spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and Indian bay-leaves). Basically Persian in origin, it is now indispensable for Northern Indian cuisine. Rather mild.

Herbes de Provenše (see lavender)
Combination of several Mediterranean herbs and fennel seeds; the specific Provenšal character is determined by lavender flowers. From Southern France.

Jerk (see allspice)
A fiery and aromatic spice paste from Jamaica. Jerk is used to marinate chicken and pork barbecues and combines the extreme heat of Caribbean chiles (the hottest in the world!) with the harmonic fragrance of allspice and various herbs.

Mole (see paprika for general information, sesame about mole Poblano and MÚxican pepper-leaf about mole verde)
A group of spicy sauces from MÚxico, made up from herbs, aromatic spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice), ground nuts, oil, possibly chocolate, tortillas, broth and of course several types of chiles. Fascinating aroma and varying degree of hotness.

Panch phoron (see nigella)
Classical "five spice" mixture of Bengal; the Bengali are famous all over India for their distinct cuisine. Panch phoron owes its special taste to the antagonism of sweet fennel and bitter fenugreek seeds besides cumin, nigella and black mustard seeds. Not hot.

Quatre Úpices (see nutmeg)
Somewhat antiquated, but still much used mixture of black pepper with several aromatic spices (nutmeg, cloves, and ginger). It may substitute pepper in nearly every dish, imparting a richer taste. From old (pre-revolutionary) France.

Ras el Hanout (see cubeb pepper)
No fixed recipe, but a generic name for Moroccan spice mixtures. Contains sweet (cinnamon, cloves), hot (pepper, grains of paradise) and bitter (cubeb pepper) elements.

Sambaar Powder (see cumin)
Indispensable for the authentic taste of South Indian cuisine. Besides the ubiquitous cumin, it contains several other spices (black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, chiles) and large amounts of roasted lentils or small beans. Fairly hot.

Shichimi togarashi (see sichuan pepper)
A Japanese spice mixture served to soups and other tasty dishes. Hot chiles and sichuan pepper are combined with sea grass, sesame seeds and orange peel. Fairly hot.

Thai curry pastes (kaeng prik or gaeng prik) (see coconut)
Pungent dried fish and not less aromatic shrimp paste are ground together with fresh chiles, fragrant leaves (lemon grass, coriander, kaffir lime) and rhizomes (galanga, turmeric, fingerroot). Ranging between fairly hot and very hot.

Worcestershire Sauce (see cloves)
An Anglo-Indian sauce, whose exact composition depends on the manufacturer. The core taste is formed by tamarind, medium-hot paprika, cloves and possibly soy sauce or fish sauce.

Zahtar (see sumac)
A condiment from Jordan, much used for fried or barbecued mutton. Its unusual taste derives from nutty sesame, aromatic thyme and sour sumac.

Zhoug or zhug (see coriander)
The well-known spice paste and relish from Yemen is prepared from both coriander leaves and fruits; furthermore, it contains fresh green chiles, garlic, cardamom, black pepper and olive oil.  
By Gernot Katzer