Best Turkish Spices for Beginner Cooks

Best Turkish Spices for Beginner Cooks

If you’re a newbie to the culinary world, then boy do you have some fun ahead of you, with all those interesting ingredients, aromas, and flavors to experiment with! The sheer choice available can be quite overwhelming, so we’re going to help you along with our top 7 Turkish spices and herbs for you to try.

So, get your shopping pad and pen ready as we talk you through the spices and herbs you should be adding to your kitchen cupboard!

#1 - Marjoram

The first example of our amazing Turkish spices and herbs is Marjoram that’s used widely across Europe and the Middle East. With a savory, earthy taste that’s not too dissimilar to sage, it’s an ideal addition to fatty meats like pork and lamb.

It offers a very distinctive and unique taste and it’s one that many use to season sausages. Use it sparingly though, as it can overpower your food otherwise. Get the blend right, however, and your tastebuds will sing!

#2 - Mahleb

Ground mahleb is a herb that provides a mixture of tastes ranging from cherry to almonds and it’s popular for use in flour and bread. Dairy and cheese products also benefit from the addition of one of the most fruity Turkish spices and herbs there is.

It’s not all about sweetness with Mahleb though, as it’s quite useful for savory dishes too. Primarily used in baking, many loaves of bread and pastries feature it, like Kandil Simiti - a sesame seeded bread that’s used in Turkish religious festivities.

#3 - Za’atar

Next, we look at Za’atar, a blend of spices with a middle-eastern twist. Offering a deliciously bold nutty flavor, this spice contains several wild plant ingredients to include sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds. It’s wonderful for use in dry meat rubs, adding zest and freshness to their taste.

It’s also great for adding to salads, as you will really notice the thyme and sesame come out in every bite you take.

#4 - Urfa Biber

Turkish spices don’t come much more mouthwatering than Urfa Biber, which originates from the Şanlıurfa area of Southeast Turkey. This delight is a rich, cured pepper that’s able to complement both complex and rich flavors of meat and is fantastic when added to stews and sauces.

It also provides earthy notes along with a mild warmth to the palette that’s able to add a new dimension to the dishes it’s added to.

#5 - Shish Tavuk

Translating to English as ‘Chicken Shish’, Shish Tavuk is a gorgeous blend that not only complements chicken, but also vegetable and fish dishes. It’s also great when used as a salad dressing or in yogurt and olive oil as a marinade.

Want to add a delicious taste to your meals without making them more unhealthy? Then this might just be the spice for you.

#6 - Ras El Hanout

Another popular spice used in Turkey is Ras El Hanout, which originates from Morocco and means ‘top of the shop’. It’s an extremely versatile blend of species that goes with many things including vegetable dishes, lamb, chicken, and egg-based meals.

This is one of the most taste-packed of the available Turkish spices and herbs and its complex flavor profile will add an exciting element to any meal.

#7 - Marash Pepper

The last of our top seven spices and herbs is Marash pepper that typically comes in flakes or simply dried. Providing a medium heat that’s not at all overpowering, it’s a versatile chili pepper that will add a certain warmth to meat, soups, or stews.

It’s also tasty when mixed with olive oil as a marinade for fish, chicken, lamb, or as a simple, yet delicious dipping sauce.

A Wealth of Spices & Herbs to Try

These have been our top seven Turkish spices available to enhance your cooking and there are many more to choose from. In fact, there’s a wealth of spices and herbs to try at the Little Istanbul shop, so why not consider trying something new? We’re sure your tastebuds will thank you for it - as will your family!

Join us again soon for more ways to add life to your cuisine.

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