Yemeni spice blend (hawaayij)
This all-purpose spice blend can be used in anything savoury - try it with chicken, fish, lamb, eggs, lentils, potatoes and other vegetables. Cookbook author Amjaad Al-Hussain writes that each Yemeni cook has their own variation (and you should feel free to adjust the ratio of spices as you like), but that each blend contains the basic spices you'll find in nearly every Yemeni or Middle Eastern dish.
Store at room temperature in an airtight glass jar for up to 3 months. (Al-Hussein keeps a small jar at room temperature and freezes the rest for refilling to keep the mixture beyond 3 months.)
- Toast the cloves, coriander, cumin, peppercorns and cardamom pods in a medium dry skillet over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant.
- Transfer the spices to a spice grinder and let cool for a few minutes. Pulse the spices until they are ground to a fine powder, working in batches if necessary. (You can also use a mortar and pestle.)
- Sift the ground spices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small mixing bowl; use the back of a spoon to help push the mixture through (regrind any large pieces that may remain and add those to the bowl.)
- Stir in the cinnamon and turmeric until combined. Transfer to a glass jar, cover with a lid, and store in a cool, dark place.
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