Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lebanese Spices



Stocking up on spices is imperative when you want to cook Lebanese food. I have gathered a list of spices which can be used in the recipes that will follow. Copy the list on your phone and go out there to find the freshest spices available in the market. I usually do this exercise once a year at a local mill in the Bekaa Valley or another one in the Kesserouan. If that's too difficult for you, most supermarkets carry a wide range of spices, carefully wrapped to keep them fresh. I bring them home and put them into clean jars. I label every jar to have them on hand when the pressure is on with my cooking. They have to be easy to find and accessible to you. When using, don't forget to close the lids as soon as possible, very tightly. Use only dry spoons, a slightly wet spoon will infect the spices, also steam. Be careful! 

Keep all spices away from direct sunlight, moisture, and heat. The best place to store your spices in the kitchen is on the right or left of your cooking station. When using, put them on the counter and measure. 

If you have a mortar and pestle or an electric coffee grinder, you can buy most spices whole and grind them  yourself. This will ensure maximum flavors. Old spices should be discarded. I hate throwing spices, especially those I buy on trips around the world BUT there is an expiration date that should be respected. Some spices, which I have never used, I keep for memory sake. So I don't consider them spices anymore but scented souvenirs.

Buying spices at the local mill


The list:

  • Aleppo red pepper ground
  • red pepper mild ground
  • red pepper hot ground 
  • hot chili peppers whole dried
  • cinnamon ground
  • cinnamon sticks
  • bay leaves
  • oregano ground (substitute with zaatar)
  • sweet pepper whole
  • sweet pepper ground / also called in the US Jamaica or allspice
  • white pepper ground
  • black pepper whole (get a pepper mill that you love!)
  • black pepper ground
  • cardamon whole
  • cardamon ground
  • nutmeg whole
  • nutmeg ground
  • cloves whole
  • cloves ground
  • cumin seeds
  • cumin ground
  • ginger ground
  • mint ground dried
  • sumac ground
  • 7-spices ground (or make your own)
  • mahlab whole
  • mahlab ground
  • anis seeds
  • anis seeds ground
  • turmeric
  • mastic
I'm sure I forgot some names of spices, I will add them as I remember them. But, this is certainly a great start! Let me know if you have questions. Next post, I will list the pantry essentials. A favorite topic of mine, as you know. I dedicated a whole book on the subject. Book was published in 2010. Very excited about the new fall release coming out in the USA with Interlink publishers. You can pre-order, if you like. The book was completely out of stock. Not one copy left!


1 comment:

Lara said...

Nice post ! I always check my pantry to make sure that I have everything , every item has its identity and charm .. can't wait for your pantry essentials list ! Have a good day
Lara