Recipes

Nine Spice Mix

Reem Kassis

"The Palestinian Table"

“I can still remember walking through Jerusalem’s old city as a child with my mother, going from vendor to vendor and buying different whole spices in bulk. My mother would roast the spices when we got home and the house would be drunken on the fresh, earthy aromas. For years after I left home, she continued doing this, always sending me a jar of freshly roasted and ground spices. Today I roast my own, but when I do, the smell always transports me back to that time.” —Reem Kassis in her 2018 Beard Award–nominated The Palestinian Table.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 6 cassia bark or cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 blades of mace
  • 1/2 nutmeg, crushed

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large skillet (or frying pan) over medium-low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon periodically to ensure the spices do not burn, until you begin to smell the aroma of the spices, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and set it aside to cool completely, about 1 hour. This step is crucial because if the spices are not cooled properly, they will form a paste when ground rather than a powder.

Place all the roasted spices into a heavy-duty spice grinder and grind until you achieve a fine powder consistency. Store the spice mix in an airtight container. It will keep for several months although the aroma will fade with time.

Note: “This spice mix is featured in many of the dishes in this book, lending them a uniquely Palestinian flavor. It is my mother’s own blend but feel free to adjust to suit your taste, or you can substitute with store-bought baharat or Lebanese seven spice mix for an equally tasty, albeit slightly different, flavor profile.” —Reem Kassis

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Adapted from The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon, 2017)

Yield

about 3 1/2 ounces