Iranian spicing tends to be mild, using sesame, saffron, cinnamon, rose petals, coriander, and small amounts of cardamom, caraway, and cumin. Souring spices such as sumac, dried limes, barberries, or pomegranate also play an important part. Spice mixtures (advieh) vary significantly from the Gulf to the central plateau, and are prepared for particular dishes. The peoples of the Gulf have a taste for highly spiced food. Each country has its spice blends, known as baharat (which means spice). Enthusiasm for spicing spreads throughout the Arab countries to Israel and Turkey, where spices and herbs are sometimes mixed in milder blends; the widely used dried chile flakes may be fiery or subtle. The spicing of the eastern Mediterranean continues in North Africa, where sophisticated blends are used, particularly in Tunisia and Morocco.
Advieh for stews
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 11⁄2 tbsp green cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp powdered dried lime
Directions: break the cinnamon into pieces. Grind all the whole spices, sift, and combine with the nutmeg and lime powder. Keep in an airtight container or in a plastic bag in the freezer for 1 month.
Advieh for rice
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp ground dried rose petals
- 1 tbsp ground cumin or green cardamom seeds
Directions: mix the spices and use to flavor steamed rice or rice cooked with herbs in the Iranian manner. Store in an airtight jar or in a plastic bag in the freezer for 1 month.