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What's New in Your Pantry? Syrian spice blend!

Syrian spice

From Kathie, in Rhode Island:

I used to always make my own, but I now use this 7 spice mix to season my Syrian cooking.

[Lydia's notes] Do you have Syrian spice blend in your pantry? I do -- a no-name brand, mixed in-house by my local Middle Eastern market, so the proportions of each spice might be slightly different. Although I don't use it often, I should, because it's a more interesting substitute for plain ground allspice in many recipes with chicken, lamb, or beef. Here are some recipes, including one of my go-to recipes for the grill. If you cook with this ingredient, what's your favorite way to use it?

Chicken shish kabob, from The Perfect Pantry
Arabic eggplant and walnuts with cauliflower couscous, from Food to Glow
Seven spice cake with browned butter frosting, from Off the (Meat) Hook
Tabbouleh, from David Lebovitz

Ready to join in the fun on Saturdays? Here's how to play


  1. Find something in your pantry, fridge or freezer, cupboards, or kitchen that wasn't there 10 years ago. Maybe it's a spice or condiment you use now that you didn't know existed back then. Maybe it's a new version of something you've always had (a different brand of soy sauce or olive oil?). Or, maybe it's a tool or utensil that's essential to the way you cook today. Maybe it's something you discovered here on The Perfect Pantry! If you haven't had your own kitchen for 10 years, find something you have now that you didn't have a year ago.
  2. Snap a photo, quick and easy with your smartphone! 
  3. Email the photo to me: lydia@theperfectpantry.com.
  4. Include your name, and where your pantry is located (city, or state, or country).
  5. Make sure to say what the pantry item is (especially if your photo has more than one thing in it), and include a sentence or two about why it's in your pantry.

You may send as many photos as you like, whenever you like. Please send each photo in its own email (easy to do from your smartphone), with your name on each one. Send one photo, ten photos, or more. I have tons of things in my pantry now that weren't there 10 years ago.

***You may send any item, food or nonfood, from your pantry/kitchen. If you send a photo of a food ingredient I don't have, I will try to get it and create a recipe with it. 

I'm looking forward to sharing your photos, so snap a shot and email to me:



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Ethnic markets are such good resources for pantries

Those Middle East and North African flavors are so seductive! I have some spice blends: Syrian Spice and Desert Spice, which are still enticing despite being 'of a certain age.' When read about Kabsa, a Saudi spice blend for chicken, I mixed it up but have not actually used yet.
And that's my problem with premade blends -- until I get some comfort with the way they are used, I don't think of them, and rely on the given recipes and the blend is still on my shelf.
So every once in a while I open the jar, take a sniff and put the lid back on.

This is new to me, but I bet I would love it. Something new to add to my pantry!

This looks very interesting. I am familiar with Sumac and Za'atar, so perhaps I would try this
instead, most likely in meat dishes.

I have not heard of this particular blend, but it is intriguing. I'm always in for trying something new.
I think your new game is lots of fun.

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