Aegean Herb and Hot Pepper Mix


Along Turkey’s Aegean coast and on the neighboring Greek island of Chios, cooks use a wonderfully aromatic spice-and-herb blend to flavor all kinds of dishes. I was amazed by the pairing of dried mint and basil with orange peel and cumin. These cooks turn up the heat with the addition of locally grown, mildly hot peppers to create a unique combination of fascinating flavors. Here is my version of the fragrant, mouth-warming, alluring mix: an all-purpose seasoning that enhances the flavor of grilled vegetables, beans, sauces, and dressings.


  • 7 tablespoons (65 g) Maraş pepper, or ¼ cup (25 g) crushed red pepper flakes plus 3 tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup (25 g) dried Greek oregano, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, freshly ground or crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ground dried orange zest, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint, crumbled


In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Transfer to a jar and keep in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.