7 most popular spice mixes of the world

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Spices and herbs play an exemplary role in crafting delicious delights in the culinary world.  Like in India, we can never get done with adding spices to all our dishes and we have our own beloved spices, distinctive to each region.  Similarly, every country has their own mix and match of spices and herbs which are absolute essentials in bringing the right essence in various dishes. We’ve got some information on the popular spice blends from around the world.

Let’s start the virtual spice trail! Get, set go…


1. Garam Masala: India

Let’s start by giving a tribute to the desirable garam masala which has been quintessential in our beloved Bhartiya cuisine. This spice mix is a blend of the most popular spices from the desi pantry. While North India is known to have the most well-known version, every other region or household in India has its own version of a garam masala. This classic spice mix is easily available in stores but it’s best to make it at home. So here’s the easiest recipe: take some whole spices like cumin seeds (jeera), coriander seeds (dhania dana), black pepper (kali mirch), cloves (lavang), green cardamoms (choti elaichi), black cardamoms (badi elaichi), nutmeg (jaiphal), cinnamon (dalchini), mace (javitri) and blend them to a fine powder. There you go! You have a fresh mix of one of the most loved spice blends in the world.


2. Berbere: Ethiopia

This one’s a popular blend that is widely used in Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisines. It is a warm blend which adds a spicy and royal flavour to the recipes. It is one of the most versatile mixes which can be used in many ways – salads, marinades, meats, stews and many more. For prepping it, you need paprika, chilli powder, onion powder, cayenne, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, all spice and nutmeg. Just add them to a bowl, mix well and use it as and when required.


3. Quatres Épices: France

You might have heard of the Chinese five spice blend, but have you ever read about the French ‘Quatres Épices?’ If not, here’s the story. Quatres Épices literally translates to ‘four spices’ in English because all you need to prep this spice blend is 4 spices – ground pepper (black and white), nutmeg, dried ginger and cloves. This one’s a savoury spice blend used to season authentic French dishes like


4. Shichimi Togarashi: Japan

This is one of the oldest spice mixes which has been used to add an extra zing to Japanese cuisine, since forever. The word ‘Shichi’ means seven and ‘Togarashi’ means peppers which means this spice mix is a combination of 7 different spices – red chilli peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, poppy seeds and nori (seaweed). It is commonly used to flavour soups, noodles, tempuras or some popular rice-based dishes like rice cakes and crackers.


5. Baharat: Middle East

The Arabic word ‘Baharat’ literally translates to ‘spices’ in English. If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, you know how their dishes are simply extraordinary. This all-spice mix is used to add depth and that extra flavour to dishes like soups, meats, vegetables, grains, stews and more. The Turkish and Greek people are also a fan of the popular ‘Baharat’ but with their own slight variation. If you’re planning on preparing this beauty at home, all you need are some basic spices – black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom seeds, paprika, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Most of them are a regular in our pantries, aren’t they?


6. Ras El Hanout: Morocco

It was created in North Africa but is used extensively in the Moroccan cuisine. The Arabic name ‘Ras El Hanout’ means ‘head of the shop’ which means this is the best thing they got in their spice store to offer to the customers. This fragrant and earthy spice mix can be made in a variety of ways and the number of spices required to prep it can range from 8 to 50. The most common blend includes cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, mace, nutmeg, different peppers, peppercorn, turmeric. Some popular variations also use exotic ingredients like chufa, galangal, orris roots, cubebs, dried rose buds, ash berries and more. Two classic Moroccan dishes which are incomplete without this flavourful blend are Mrouzia and Bstilla.


7. Jerk Seasoning: Jamaica

Jerk is a celebrated cooking-style native to the Jamaican cuisine where the meat is rubbed or marinated with the spice blend known as the ‘Jerk Seasoning’. To prepare this unique Jamaican spice mix, you need pimento, scotch bonnet peppers, cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and salt. It is generally used in meat-based dishes but once you season any of other dish with it, you will surely get addicted to this fabulous blend. How many of you are already a fan of the classic Jerk Chicken? If you haven’t tried the dish yet, here’s the recipe: https://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/recipe/Jerk-Chicken-KhaanaKhazana.html



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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.