Baharat, like its relative, Za’atar, is a spice blend that has more variations than a Marshmello remix. Spice Jungle’s variation is totally tasty!
Baharat is a very Jazz kind of spice blend. The word “baharat” is a derivative of the Arabic word bhar, for a spice blend, or condiment.
A bit of sumac, saffron, mint, dried rosebuds, or extra paprika tops the common spices to all: Black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and cloves. Add loomi (black lime) and saffron, and you have “gulf baharat.” It also goes by “7 Spice.”
So, no matter what the riff, that common core makes whatever is seasoned with it just a bit more magic. The Spice Jungle Baharat is a blend of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, black peppercorns and paprika.
The pepper brings the bite, the paprika contributes color, and the three C’s, cinnamon/cassia, cumin, and clove, are aromatics that balance fragrance and pungence. When sumac is added, there is a touch of astringent sour. Toss in saffron, and you get a golden coloration, and that rich, slightly bitter, astringent, with it’s signature aroma.
Baharat is found from Turkey to Tangiers, although it is probably most common in Turkey and Saudi Arabia these days. There’s a Greek riff too. In every nation, region, neighborhood, and house seems to make their own riff.
The origins of Baharat are most likely the spice traders of North Africa, although it proliferated across such a wide geography, in a time of poor culinary documentation, so it is really difficult to pinpoint, beyond the traders who affected sales of spices across such a multitude of places.
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