If you have some whole spice basics in your pantry, you have more than a collection of interesting flavors to sprinkle on your next round of roasted vegetables. You have a gateway to international cuisine.
Grinding your own spice mixes is simple. You just need a mortar and pestle and a little know-how.
Start with a recipe but consider it a starting combination, one that’s ripe for improvisation. No spice mix is absolute.
Today we focus on just a few. Take a look at these Indian, French, Ethiopian, and Persian mixes:
The ingredients in curries span hundreds of possible spices, though the one most familiar to us is a combination of coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fenugreek. Use in sauces and to add interest to dips, fries, and tuna or egg salad.
Translated as “warm spice mix,” this bronze-colored combination includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and mace. Use to build flavor in hot dishes and enhance dressings and marinades, or dust over curried dishes.
This spicy blend forms the backbone of many Ethiopian dishes, such as Doro Wat. A classic combination includes coriander, fenugreek, pepper, cardamom, cloves, chiles, and more.
A French staple that’s a combination of white or black pepper (or both), cloves, nutmeg, and ginger or cinnamon. Use to spike a coating for salmon or in dishes centered on pork, apples, and chicken.
A staple in Persian cuisine, advieh is a combination of spices similar to South Asian mixes—cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, and cumin—with the notable addition of dried rose petals. Try it in lamb stew or lentil dishes.
We’ve collected some of our favorites here along with a few extra Moroccan, Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Georgian options.
5 More international spice mixes