Discover Exotic Spices in Dubai: Flavorful and Aromatic

Spices and herbs play a vital role in Middle Eastern cusine. It’s basically what gives any dish that flavorful and aromatic uniqueness.  If you want to make some of the most popular middle eastern cuisines at home, read on to learn about the many spices and herbs used in the region. Growing up in the region, we’ll give you some of our greatest culinary secrets, to cook your dishes perfectly. We’ll also guide you on where to locate these spices in Dubai.

Exotic spices and herbs:

Here are the top used spices and herbs that are usually added in Dubai’s restaurants and homes;

  • Saffron: widely valued for its flavor, aroma, and bright color. It is frequently used in Middle Eastern and foreign dishes.
  • Cardamom: A cornerstone in many traditional Middle Eastern recipes, this aromatic spice is utilized in both savory and sweet foods.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often used in desserts, beverages, and savory foods.
  • Sumac: This acidic, lemony spice is used in a variety of Middle Eastern cuisines, particularly salads and meats.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is a popular spice in many recipes, especially stews, due to its brilliant color and health benefits.

The following are spices that are commonly mixed together to create a an exotic blend of flavors to middle eastern dishes

  1. Za’atar: It is an ancient spice combination composed of dried herbs, sesame seeds, sumac, and at times salt. This is an essential in any Middle Eastern kitchen cabinet, usually eaten on top of freshly baked bread. 
  2. Ras el hanout: It is a North African and Moroccan spice that loosely translates as “shopkeeper’s head.”  This top spice contains cardamom, clove cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and a few other spices.  It is a slightly spicy blend that is perfect for adding flavor to any style of food, that includes stews and grills.
  3. Baharat: A powerful blend of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. It is commonly used to season soups, tomato-based sauces, and lentils.
  4. Dukkah: This simple spice, which originated in Egypt, has achieved fame around the world.  The flavor is mild yet distinct, including sesame seeds, coriander seeds, hazelnuts, and a few additional components. It Can be eaten with olive oil and fresh bread and can also be used to marinate meat and fish for grilling or mixed with yogurt and smeared onto meat and vegetables.

Where to find spices from Dubai ?

  • You can find spices anywhere in Dubai, from supermarkets like Carrefour, spinneys and others.
  • If you are looking for a place to get fresh spices, then Dubai’s Spice Souk is the perfect place to visit.
  • Another great option when it comes to purchasing fresh herbs and spices is at the famous Gold Souk.

Finally, as Middle Eastern food grows in recognition around the world, so does interest in its rare spices, leading to cross-cultural culinary exchange. The use of these spices contributes to a culinary trip that goes beyond taste, delivering a view into the depths of Dubai’s history, culture, and traditions. Whether it’s the warm embrace of exquisite saffron-infused rice or the powerful kick of za’atar seasoning, including such spices will take your dishes to a new level.


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