The Yemenites 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. The Hawayej blend is primarily used for seasoning soups and meats.
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- Toast the cumin seeds lightly in a skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn! Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Grind the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds and saffron together using a coffee grinder; it may take several minutes for the spices to reach the desired powdery texture.
- Pour into a bowl. Stir in the turmeric till thoroughly blended with the other spices. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry pantry for up to one month.
- Grinding the whole spices provides a fresher flavor more than using pre-ground spices. However, if you already have ground versions of any of these spices, you may substitute 1/3 the amount of ground spice to 1 whole spice. If, for instance, you would like to use ground cumin, you may substitute 2 tsp ground cumin for 2 tbsp cumin seeds. I don’t recommend subbing ground cardamom; seeds from the cardamom pod lose their flavor very quickly after being ground, so it’s best to grind them fresh for optimal flavor.