My recipe for beata't tdamata (eggs fried in tomato) calls for a mixture of black pepper, cumin, and paprika. This Lebanese baharat ("baharat" simply means spices in Arabic, but often refers to a spice blend) is just a slightly more complicated version of that combination. The added warm notes of coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg give the blend a lovely well-rounded flavor. Think of it as Lebanese garam masala.
A spice blend is the kind of thing that you make in a big batch and use over the course of a several months to a year (it will last closer to a year if stored in a sealed glass or stainless steel container). While it takes a small amount of effort up front, you'll reap the benefits for a long time. This spice blend works perfectly with beata't tdamata, hummus, labneh, falafel, salad dressings, marinades, dry rubs, lentil soup, or anything else that needs a little extra something. If I'm cooking with this spice blend (as opposed to sprinkling it on something right before serving), I usually temper it in oil over low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, which gives it a toastier flavor.
Lebanese spice blend
12 parts ground black pepper
12 parts ground paprika
10 parts ground cumin seeds
8 parts ground coriander seeds
6 parts ground cloves
2 parts ground nutmeg
2 parts ground cinnamon
1 part ground cardamom
For just over 1 cup of spice blend:
1/4 cup ground black pepper (3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns)
1/4 cup ground paprika
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds (3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds (3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds)
2 tablespoons ground cloves (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons whole cloves)
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg (1 whole nutmeg)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (2 1/2 inch cinnamon stick)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (8 to 9 cardamom pods)
If using ground spices, simply combine. If using whole spices, combine whole spices in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or very clean coffee grinder until powdered, then mix with the ground ones.
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