To Lebanese people, our spices are far more than just a way to flavour our food – they connect us to our history, they keep us healthy, and they are an important part of who we are. The following guide looks at what makes our spices so special and highlights a few of those that matter most.
You can trace the roots of Lebanese culture back thousands of years simply by following the history of our spices. For instance, za’atar was eaten as far back as Ancient Egypt more than 5,000 years ago, while the Ottoman occupation of Lebanon (1516 – 1918) left behind many tasty influences, not least of which was cardamom. Nomadic tribes have also had an impact on Lebanese taste buds throughout the years by introducing us to spices from all over the world, including baharat from North Africa, mint from Asia and cumin from Egypt.
Traditional Lebanese food has long been known for being extremely healthy and much of the credit needs to go to our spices. For instance, za’atar has been used to treat everything from indigestion to leprosy, while mint has helped those struggling with weight issues, headaches and nausea. Sumac has antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cardamom can be a powerful aphrodisiac, and baharat is high in calcium, iron, as well as vitamins A and C.
The spices used in traditional Lebanese cuisine make it truly irresistible – from the well-rounded flavours of za’atar and baharat to the tang of sumac, through to the freshness of mint and the sweetness of cardamom. Every one of our spices plays a vital role in creating that authentic Lebanese taste.
While many spices go into creating authentic Lebanese food, the following are a few of the main players;
Traditional Lebanese food is one of the world’s tastiest and healthiest cultural cuisines, thanks in large part to our amazing spices. To try Lebanese food at its best (or the best pizza in Sydney) stop by Manoosh or order online, and prepare your taste buds for something special.