Ramadan’s Favorite Spices Flavor Middle Eastern Food


Dozens of colorful fresh spices enliven traditional dishes of the Arab world.

Spices and herbs are treasured as culinary ingredients, and as medicine, in every Middle Eastern country. While modern supermarkets and small grocery stores carry many of the popular ones, people in the know still search out traditional spice and herb shops, where they find exotic blends that may include ingredients like dried rosebuds, or fresh herbs like parsley and curry leaves.

According to the online news magazine DP (Day Press) News, the spices beloved by the Arab community sell especially well during the just-concluded month of Ramadan.

“Every year I notice an increase in the sales of spices during Ramadan. I think that people buy more food stuff in general during this month and the spices are part of it; people cook more,” a salesman in a Salwa (Kuwait) spice shop told DP News.

Day-long fasting is relieved by night-time feasting, and the aroma of spices like cumin, cinnamon, and the especially appreciated “Saudi Spice” mix help home cooks create mouth-watering traditional dishes. For desserts using the typical Arab rosewater flavoring, look at our Malabi pudding and Ma’amoul cookie recipes.

This year’s Ramadan month, and the joyful 3-day Eid al Fitr celebration that winds it up, are over. But the lingering aroma of the feast nights and days carries over to the rest of the year in the kitchen of every good cook.

Photo of spices, El-Babour spice shop, Nazareth, Israel, by Miriam Kresh

:: DP News

More traditionally-flavored dishes from the Arab world from Green Prophet:

Poussins Stuffed With Rice and Pine NutsCouscous and RoqaqAuthentic Egyptian Mulukhia and Other Delights

Miriam Kresh writes about Israeli food on www.israelikitchen.com

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