You may not have heard of mahlab before, but this spice is worth getting to know.
Also known as St Lucie cherry seeds, mahlab is traditionally used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The spice has a sweet and nutty flavor, with hints of almonds and cherries.
Mahlab is often used in baking and can also be added to savory dishes like rice and stews.
If you want to add a new flavor to your cooking, mahlab is an excellent option.
But what if you can’t find mahlab? Don’t worry – plenty of substitutes will give your dishes a similar flavor.
In this article, we’ll share five of the best substitutes for mahlab.
What is Mahlab?
Mahlab is a spice made from the ground kernels of a type of cherry.
It has a sweet and nutty flavor with hints of bitterness and is often used in desserts or as a flavoring for bread.
Mahlab can also be used in savory dishes, where it adds a depth of flavor to meat and vegetable dishes.
While it is most commonly associated with Middle Eastern cuisine, mahlab is also used in Indian and Pakistani cooking.
In the Arab world, mahlab is sometimes known as “the king of spices”.
This spice is believed to have originated in Persia and has been used in cooking for centuries.
Today, mahlab is available at most specialty grocery stores.
If you want to add a new flavor to your cooking repertoire, give mahlab a try.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Mahlab
If you can’t find mahlab at your local spice shop, don’t worry.
There are several suitable substitutes that will give your dish the same flavor profile.
1 – Cardamom and Ground Fennel Seeds
Cardamom and ground fennel seed are two of the most common spices used in Indian cooking.
Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and has a warm, spicy flavor.
Ground fennel seed comes from the herb fennel and has a more licorice-like taste.
Both spices are used to flavor many different dishes, including curries, stews, and rice dishes.
Cardamom is also sometimes used as a digestive aid.
In addition to being used in cooking, cardamom and ground fennel seed can also be used in baking.
They are often used to flavor cakes, cookies, and bread.
If you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavor to your baking, try adding these spices to your following recipe.
2 – Star Anise and Almond Extract
Star anise and almond extract are two of the most popular ingredients in baking.
Combined, they create a unique and irresistible flavor that is perfect for cookies, cakes, and other sweet treats.
The sweet taste of almond extract is balanced by the licorice-like flavor of star anise, resulting in a delightful blend that is sure to please any palate.
This combination is also frequently used to flavor candy and other sweets.
When baking with these two flavors, use them sparingly, as too much can easily overwhelm the other ingredients.
3 – Cinnamon, Bay Leaf, and Cloves
When it comes to the flavor of cinnamon, bay leaf, and cloves, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Cinnamon is often spicy and sweet, with a warm and woody flavor.
Bay leaf, on the other hand, is earthy and slightly bitter.
And finally, cloves are typically intensely aromatic and somewhat bitter.
When these three flavors are combined, they create a unique and complex flavor that is perfect for fall recipes.
Whether baking a spice cake or simmering a pot of soup, these three ingredients will add depth and dimension to your dish.
4 – Bitter Almonds and Tonka Beans
Bitter almonds and tonka beans are two ingredients that may not sound like they go together, but they create a unique and delicious flavor profile.
Bitter almonds have a robust and nutty flavor offset by the tonka bean’s sweetness.
The two flavors combine to create a complex and well-rounded taste perfect for baking or cooking.
When combined, these two ingredients can add depth and dimension to any dish.
Whether you’re looking for a new twist on an old favorite or simply want to experiment with new flavors, bitter almonds and tonka beans are a great place to start.
5 – Cherry Liqueur and Almond Liqueur
The sweet and tart flavor of cherry liqueur is a perfect complement to almond liqueur’s rich, nutty flavor.
Together, these two liqueurs create a delicious and unique flavor that will please any palate.
The best way to enjoy this flavor combination is to mix equal parts of cherry liqueur and almond liqueur in a glass and enjoy it neat or on the rocks.
You can also use this mixture to create a delicious cocktail by adding sparkling wine or club soda.
When substituting cherry liqueur for mahlab, use a high-quality brand that is not too sweet.
In conclusion, mahlab is an excellent spice with a unique flavor that can be difficult to replicate.
However, the five substitutes listed above are excellent options that will provide your dish with a similar flavor profile.
With some experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect substitute for mahlab in your following recipe.
The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of experimentation.