Have you ever heard of the popular Middle Eastern spice blend Baharat?
Centuries ago, it was considered a luxurious item only to be enjoyed by royalty, and now people around the world love its intense flavor.
But what exactly is this mysterious spice, and how can you cook with it?
Even better – if you’re out of Baharat, what are some great substitutes that will give your dishes an equally delicious zest?
All of these questions and more will be answered by any curious aspiring home chefs out there who want to experiment with this unique seasoning.
What’s Baharat Spice?
Baharat spice is a popular Middle Eastern blend of spices that is common in North African and Levantine cuisine.
It usually contains 7-8 spices such as cumin, coriander, black pepper, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and paprika.
It has a warming, pungent taste with earthy overtones but can also be nutty or sweet, depending on the individual ingredients.
Other additional spices are sometimes added to create different flavor profiles, which makes it incredibly versatile.
For those who don’t have Baharat on hand, you can substitute it with cumin, coriander, chili flakes, and allspice.
Altogether this creates a rich depth of flavor that can really bring dishes alive.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Baharat Spice
If you’re looking for an alternative to Baharat spice, you have a few great options.
Here are the five best substitutes that have similar flavor profiles and can be used interchangeably in many dishes:
1 – Ras el Hanout
Ras el Hanout is a unique Moroccan spice blend that has a complex, aromatic flavor.
It’s made up of a mix of more than 30 spices, ranging from mild to hot in taste, and including cardamom, ginger, mace, coriander, fenugreek, and turmeric.
As for its texture, you’ll find bits of nuts and dried fruits as well as toasted cumin seeds.
For those who want an alternative to the popular Eastern Mediterranean Baharat spice, Ras el Hanout is a great substitute.
It can easily spruce up any dish and will add layers of flavor – something both you and your guests will appreciate.
2 – Garam Masala
Garam masala is an Indian spice blend made from a variety of spices and herbs.
Common ingredients in garam masala include cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, chilies, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
The blend of spices used may vary according to the region and even family tradition.
Garam masala has both sweet and savory tones with a slight warmth due to the spices used.
The flavor can be described as earthy and robust with a hint of nuttiness due to the ground almonds usually included.
While generally quite pungent in its raw form, the flavors are mellow when cooked.
If you’re looking for a substitute for baharat spice, garam masala can likely be found in most supermarkets or health food stores and can be used with similar results.
3 – Tikka Masala
Tikka Masala is an Indian-style spice blend that is absolutely essential to many beloved dishes.
An ochre-colored mixture of spices such as coriander, ginger, cumin, clove, and many others, it adds a unique flavor profile perfect for cooking up delicious entrees.
The taste of Tikka Masala packs a little bit of heat and can sometimes lend your dish a mild smoky note if you take care not to overpower it with too much seasoning.
If it helps, you can think of its overall flavor profile as similar to that of the Baharat spice blend — though the latter has more hints of nutmeg and allspice than the former.
Therefore mixing some nutmeg or allspice into your Tikka Masala blend may be a nice substitute in certain recipes.
4 – Tandoori Masala
Tandoori Masala is an incredibly versatile spice that has been embraced by many different cultures.
Originating from India, it’s a blend of warming spices like coriander, smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, and chili powder with notes of cayenne pepper and cardamom.
It typically has an earthy, smoky flavor with just enough heat to give it a mild kick.
What makes it so unique is that it can be used both as a marinade or as a dry rub for roasting vegetables or meat in a tandoor oven.
For those looking for something new, you can substitute Tandoori Masala for the more traditional Baharat spice in recipes – try sprinkling some over-roasted potatoes for a flavorful twist.
5 – Berbere
Berbere is one of the most commonly used spices in Ethiopian cuisine.
It is a spice blend containing a multitude of ingredients, such as chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, fenugreek, and cardamom.
This blend has an intense aroma and a unique flavor that is complex and smoky.
In terms of taste, Berbere has a kick from the heat of the chili peppers balanced with the sweetness of the basil.
The texture is powdery but large enough not to pass through a sieve.
If you don’t have access to this Ethiopian staple, you can use Baharat spice as a substitute; it does not completely replicate Berbere’s signature flavors but still provides an alternative.
In conclusion, if you don’t have access to Baharat spice for your next recipe, give any of these five alternatives a try.
You can use Eastern Mediterranean Ras el Hanout, the Indian Garam Masala, the versatile Tikka Masala, the smoky Tandoori Masala, or the unique Berbere.
Each of these options provides its own unique flavor profile to any dish and will make for an interesting yet delicious alternative.
Give them a try and see how your cooking journey takes you.