My Simple Seven Spices Mix
Seven spices mix is that perfect blend of the well known Middle Eastern flavors we love!
After all, what is food without spice?
Without the rich enhancements that spices provide to food, bland and boring is the answer to that question!
Food from the Middle East has a rich history of spice blends that make up the flavors of the various tastes of the region.
The spice trade began in the Middle East around 2000 BC.
Traders from the Indonesian islands sailed around China and India ending up in the Arabian Peninsula.
We know that the ancient Egyptians used herbs for embalming.
This demand was part of what encouraged trade in the exotic commodities from the Far East.
Arab tribes took over the land routes for the herbs and spices, which made them and their communities incredibly wealthy.
Herbs were used mainly in medicine, and many spices were used as a type of currency.
In the Middle Ages, spices were very important due to a lack of refrigeration at the time.
Spices were used to preserve food, and to also mask the smells of the not so fresh food being consumed.
Today India is the top spice producing country.
Spices have taken a less central role in world trade and politics, with more than enough to go around.
What is Seven Spice Mix?
Seven spice is a mixture of spices that differs depending on the region you find them in.
Some categories are known as Arabic, Morrocan or Lebanese 7 spice variations.
Arabic seven spice will include a variation on popular spices in a particular area.
One tablespoon each of black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon is common.
Lebanese seven spice will more likely consist of a tablespoon each of the following spices:
Black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cloves, and Ginger.
Lastly, the Morrocan seven spice consists of black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg.
As you can see all of these seven spice recipes have some overlapping spices included in their blends.
The great thing about seven spices is that in this current day and age it is very easy to find all the spices needed to make it.
In past times it would have been a major hassle depending on your location in the world.
There is not one fixed seven spice mixture; different dishes require a different combination.
The quantity of spices that are appropriately paired with each other can also vary.
My own mix which is listed below is based on my favorite flavors.
It consists of allspice, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, and ginger.
As you can see it’s a variation on the other mixes that I listed above.
Make It How You Like
One of the nice things about making your own seven spice mixture is that you can make it how you like it.
If you favor a stronger flavour of a particular spice, then give that spice a larger share of the mix.
The biggest joy of cooking in my opinion is that you can make food just the way you like it, most dishes are forgiving that way.
You are the chef, which puts you in charge of the flavors at your disposal.
Go ahead and experiment.
Don’t be afraid to follow your own taste buds, and where they take you.
If you end up somewhere you don’t like, start again!
Seven Spices Recipe
- 1 tbsp Allspice ground
- 1 tsp Cumin ground
- 1 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp Black Pepper ground
- 1 tsp Coriander ground
- 1 tsp Turmeric ground
- 1 tsp Ginger ground
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Use good quality spices to make the most of the flavors.
Could you add the measurements for Moroccan 7 spice…. is it equal amounts?
I’ve added the measurements for my 7 spice recipe in the ingredients list above. Hope that helps!
Hi Tariq, i just found your blog having followed a trail of trying to find out about 7 spice. Your clear description of the differences between the three 7 spice variations, and their relationship to the cuisines of their particular “neighborhoods” or regions made all the confusing information finally make sense. Sincere thanks for that! I am going to make all three mixes and experiment with them. I’m sure I will love them all.
I’m so glad I could be helpful! Let me know how they turn out and which one is your favorite.
My husband was from Bethlehem, Palestine. Between him and Siti I learned first to love Middle Eastern food and then how to cook it. We never used the 7 spices. Over the years and depending on where I was living, I learned how to Americanize some of the recipes. Most Bud approved of and some he didn’t. All our children can cook Mid Eastern and now grandchildren. A very good diet!
I enjoy your site. Sucrin! Thank You.
Thank you so much for your very nice message. I’m so happy that you have been able to enjoy foods of the Middle East. Bethlehem is an amazing place, I hope you had a chance to see it for yourself. The older generation of Sitis would never have used seven spices, preferring to spice things free hand! I’m glad to know you are enjoying the site! Best regards!
Possible to share some of your favourite recipes for your seven spice mix?
Thanks for getting in touch. Here are a couple of recipes that include seven spices. https://www.cheftariq.com/recipe/maqluba/
But remember that whenever you want a hint of the ‘Middle Eastern’ flavor just use seven spices mix.
I hope that helps!
Hello Chef Tariq,
I have just recently discovered middle eastern sage tea.
It has black tea, sage and some spice mix which I am trying to figure out.. hopefully you can help..the clove is very predominant.. would this be a seven spice or could it be something else.. have you tried this tea and if so what spices would you add to it?
It’s good to hear from you, thanks for getting in touch. It’s hard to know exactly without tasting it, but it could very well be cardamom. This spice is typical in Arabic coffee, and does flavor some teas sometimes. I hope that helps.
Chef Tariq, I have eaten at a local Yemeni restaurant and was amazed at the flavor of the Lamb Haneeth. I know that the spice combination is part of the wonderful flavor. Do you have any idea what a common Yemeni seven spice mix would be like?