The Yemenite Jews are known for their health and longevity. Many attribute the Yemenites’ health to their unique spice blends and spicy sauces, which are said to purify the blood. Hawayej is a spice blend commonly used in Yemenite cooking. It’s a flavorful, healthful and anti-inflammatory blend that can be used in meats, soups and stews.
The Hawayej blend is a major ingredient in Yemenite Soup. I recommend grinding whole toasted spices for optimal flavor, however ground spices can be used in a pinch. Substitution ratio provided below.
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Hawayej Spice Blend
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons cardamom seeds removed from their pods about 30 pods
- 6 whole cloves or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Lightly toast the cumin, caraway and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn!
- Pour the toasted seeds into a cool bowl. Place the toasted cumin, caraway and coriander seeds in a coffee or spice grinder along with the turmeric, peppercorns, cardamom seeds and cloves.
- Pulse the grinder in long, slow pulses to grind the seeds into a powdery spice mix, stirring inside the grinder periodically to evenly distribute the seeds. It may take a few minutes for the spices to reach the desired powdery texture. Store spice blend in an airtight container in a cool, dry pantry.
- Toasting and grinding the whole spices provides a fresher flavor than using pre-ground spices. However, if you already have ground spices and you don't want to spend more money on whole spices, you may substitute 1/3 the amount of ground spice to 1 whole seed spice. If, for instance, you would like to use ground cumin, you may substitute 2 tsp ground cumin for 2 tbsp cumin seeds.
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