Basic to many cuisines of the Middle East, this ground spice mixture is formulated a little differently by every cook who uses it. Common ingredients include black pepper, allspice, paprika, sumac, cinnamon, nutmeg, cassia bark, coriander, cumin, and cardamom. Syrians use the aromatic blend to flavor stews (it is as good with chicken as it is with lamb) and ground meat mixtures. This is our version.

Yield: makes about 1/4 cup


  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. allspice berries
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Grind peppercorns and allspice berries in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, then transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.