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By Christine McFadden

Published 2008

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Popular in Turkey and the Gulf states, baharat is an appetising well-rounded mix – sweet, sharp and distinctly pungent with warm peppery notes. It’s the perfect seasoning for lamb – as somebody once commented ‘it cuts the mutton’. Add it to lamb-based stews or tagines, or rub it over the meat as a dry marinade. Baharat is also good with rice or vegetables. I like it sprinkled over mashed roasted aubergine or hummus with a dribble of good olive oil.

A basic blend contains 6 parts each black peppercorns and mild paprika, 3 parts each cloves, coriander and cumin seeds, ½ part each green cardamom seeds and grated nutmeg, and a small piece of cassia or cinnamon bark. Proportions vary depending on region, and some cooks add a little ground ginger and chilli.