Baharat, which means “spices” in Arabic, is a Middle Eastern seasoning blend. It is an aromatic and flavorful spice blend, which goes particularly well with eggplant and lamb dishes.
In Côte d’Ivoire, my husband’s homeland, there is a large Lebanese community which has lived there for several generations. They, and their foods, have become an integral part of Ivorian society.
Thus, many Lebanese dishes, such as shawarma, have become common in large cities, such as Abidjan. When our family lived in Côte d’Ivoire, we developed a taste for many Lebanese treats, for which Baharat is often the basic seasoning.
Personally, I adore Baharat crusted leg of lamb. However, this seasoning is equally delicious on lamb chops from the braai or in a smoky eggplant dish.
There are probably as many recipes for Baharat as there are families in Lebanon. Additionally, there are many regional varieties throughout the Middle East. The basic recipe calls for seven spices:
- nutmeg, and
I have added cardamom and allspice to my Lebanese version. However, some Lebanese cooks add fenugreek as well. The beauty of blending your own spices is that you can play with the flavors until you arrive at the blend you like best. This is my family’s favorite. Bon appétit!