Baharat is often compared to other spice blends from the Middle East, India, & Northern Africa like garam masala, ras el hanout, za'atar, & advieh.
While there are some similarities in ingredients, it would be a disservice to each distinct blend's cultural and culinary legacies to lump them together.
Read on to learn and understand the differences between Baharat and these other popular and flavorful spice blends and seasonings.
Baharat vs. Garam Masala
Garam masala is famous in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. Similar to baharat, there is no one standard recipe for this blend, and it varies widely by region and nation. Typical ingredients for garam masala include black peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and coriander. In Hindi, garam means 'hot,' and masala stands for 'a mixture of spices.'
Although the name indicates spiciness, in actuality, it is a low heat seasoning. Garam masala has a warm, strong aromatic flavor that features well in internationally popular Indian dishes like butter chicken and chicken tikka masala.
Baharat vs. Ras El Hanout
pictured: ras el hanout spice blend
Ras el hanout is a trending blend from Northern Africa, and it often has 12 or more ingredients, including allspice, ginger, turmeric, and chili peppers, among other spices. The name translates to 'head of the shop", 'signifying that this blend is made of the highest quality spices by the spice seller. Ras el hanout is a complex mixture of sweet and fragrant and used in soups, rice, and meats.
Baharat vs. Za'atar
pictured: za'atar spice blend
Also among Middle Eastern blends is za'atar, a mixture with a very different base than baharat. It consists of a mix of herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, or hyssop), toasted sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. As in many Middle Eastern blends, other spices like cumin and coriander can be added.
Za'atar is an ancient blend that existed during Ancient Egypt. Since there is so much diversity in recipes, it is hard to have one definition of its flavor profile. However, it is known to be nutty and tangy with some herbal flavors. Za'atar can be used in dipping sauces or as a spread on flatbreads.
Baharat vs. Advieh
pictured: advieh spice blend
Advieh is a Persian blend that simply translates to 'spices,' and it is used predominantly in Iranian cuisine. Common ingredients include turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, rose petals or rose buds, cumin, and ginger. This mix imbues a floral and fruity fragrance to recipes like lamb meatballs and Persian rice.
Now that you are aware of what makes each blend distinct - make sure to plan to try all of them this year.
Want to learn more about Baharat? Check out the rest of our guide HERE