Heard of ajowain, piri piri, kuli kuli or chermoula? Unique flavors from around the world are bringing inspiration to more and more food products. In this infographic, we explore a variety of savory and sweet African spice blends with ingredients that just might make your next formulation a true innovation.
Click the infographic to the left for the full size version.
Commonly used to season stews and soups, such as doro wat, or rubbed into meats.
Flavor description: A blend of spicy heat with garlic and a hint of sweetness.
Contains: Allspice, ajowain (or carom seeds; looks like small caraway but tastes similar to thyme), garlic, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seed, fenugreek, ginger, black peppercorn, red chilies & clove.
Seasoning: Ras El Hanout
Meaning “Head of the Shop,” it’s commonly used to season many savory dishes including couscous, and is rubbed onto meat or fish.
Flavor description: Strong complex aromatic flavor, but not very spicy.
Contains: cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, coriander, cayenne, allspice, clove, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, & cardamom.
Seasoning: Piri Piri
Commonly used to marinate meats or as a topical seasoning on rice or vegetables.
Contains: piri piri or cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, garlic, brown sugar or sugar & salt. Sometimes the following are added: cinnamon, ginger & hot pepper flake.
Area: Northern Africa
Seasoning: Chermoula (or, Charmoula, Sharmoula, Sharmoola)
Commonly used to marinate fish and shellfish. Also good for vegetables.
Contains: Garlic, onion, parsley, chiles, cilantro, pepper, salt & saffron.
Seasoning: Dukkah (or Dukka, Dukkau)
Commonly used to season vegetables and meats, and is mixed with olive oil for dip.
Contains: coriander, cumin, roasted nuts, sesame seeds, marjoram, mint, black pepper. Sometimes the following can be added: chickpeas, thyme, lemon zest, hot pepper flake, caraway, fennel, nigella, cinnamon, clove, turmeric, or sugar.
Country: Persian Gulf, Middle East region
Commonly used to season meat dishes, vegetables & Tunisian egg tagines.
Flavor description: Blend of spicy, savory and a hint of sweetness, with a touch of heat.
Contains: black pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, nutmeg & chile peppers. Depending on the region, mint, rosebuds, or saffron might be added.
Seasoning: Suya Pepper Spice
Commonly used to season grilled meats as a rub or baste, or to season rice and vegetables.
Contains: finely ground roasted de-oiled peanuts (also called kuli kuli), chili pepper, paprika, garlic, ginger, onion & salt. Sometimes beef stock powder or umami flavor enhancer are added.
Note: Certain chefs or manufacturers may add or remove seasonings from these mixes to alter the complexity and fit their needs. Consider these ingredients a starting point to create your own blend.
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