2:34 PM Being a big cooking fan I love exploring all the different kitchens from each and every country. 
As a beginner, I realized it was pretty hard to practice international cooking when you don't have all the ingredients and special spices at home, though. This means collecting and shopping a lot, maybe asking friends and family if they could bring back something special from their vacation trips.
My pantry is getting bigger and bigger which is so much fun to me, because cooking feels so much easier with it!

From Asian to American — I am covered. Lately, I found many things in my pantry which don't really fit to my Asian or American pantry, it's also not African (the best place to get spices!!) — I am more and more exploring the Middle East! Even though, I am not crazy about Israeli dishes, it seems like I gathered a sweet and unique Israel pantry at home — at least this is what I'm using when it comes to Middle Eastern cooking.

ZA’ATAR: one common and I think a very popular spice blend is za’atar. It's a combination of herbs that varies from the Middle East to the Mediterranean. Here we got oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, salt and cumin. Do you know what that means? Delicious marinated and grilled meat!  You can also throw it in a yogurt dip which gives it the perfect note! 

LEMONS: a little acid won't hurt you. It's actually necessary in Israeli kitchen when you prepare the hummus! Usually you'd find preserved lemons in a glass jar, but let's not judge - lemon is lemon. Bare with me... I just love the juiciest fresh lemons! Not only in my hummus, but also with some freshly grilled fish and vegetables! BTW, grill the lemon as well. 
(a net 88 cents)

MOLASSES: a sweet and sticky syrup is something I love the most about Middle Eastern cooking! No matter if it's grape or pomegranate molasses, I love how rich and tingly it is. Thinking about it, this must be a nice spread mixed with tahini or hummus for a bagel ceremony (my bagels are holy, yes). I guess my grape molasses here is rather Turkish than Jewish, but I have to admit that I always prefer a grape over pomegranate! Both are good, though! 

SESAME: an underestimated fella. Either way you can create your own tahini paste or you can use it for so many beautiful dishes to garnish! How about your avocado toast in the morning? Roast some sesame seeds and breathe in deeply the nice and warm aroma!

TAHINI: a must. The sesame paste is just as important as the holy hummus. I have to be honest, I only use my tahini for my energy balls, but I'm glad I got my little jar in my cabinet. What do you use tahini for? Maybe you got some inspiration for me: and no, I don't want to put tahini over my oats in the morning...

ROSE: when I close my eyes and meditate about Israel and its markets, I smell intense spices, maybe a lot of chilli in the air, roasted nuts, and in between sweet roses — rose water or rose infused desserts. Rose water can be made super easily at home and it's so good for any dessert you want to create! Infuse a fresh brewed mint tea or experiment how rose pedals taste with meat... I'm ready for all the experiments. 

PISTACHIOS: I can't and I won't leave these here out today... they are important as hell! I learned to love them super late. I can't live without them now. Pistachio pudding, ice cream, cake, donut, I even had pistachio cheesecake in NYC. In Israeli kitchen, pistachio is even more versatile! You don't have to think about desserts here...think about fish with pistachios or take it as an extra crunch in your salad. I love this green nut! 

SHAWARMA SPICE BLEND: my sister brought me this actually from Morocco, but Shawarma is also enjoyed in Israel. Juicy meat with this spice is heaven on earth! The spice blend is made of spices like sesame, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, cumin, and salt. My secret tip: when you are making meatballs the only thing you need is 1 egg, panko crumbs and a lot of this spice! SO GOOD!

CHICKPEAS: what would Israeli kitchen be without chickpeas? Yes, the only thing that people can think of when it comes to Israel is hummus. You will eat all kind of hummus with bread and grains, right? Sure, but there is even more! I don't even understand how people hate chickpeas... there's more you can create than hummus! I roast them as a snack, throw them into my salad, curries, and stews — I love these versatile fellas.
(a can 70 cents)

HAWAIJ: Hawaij contains cumin, cardamom, turmeric, coriander and black pepper. It's a Yemeni spice blend which is also called the coffee spice. With these aromas, I know it makes everything taste better, not only coffee. Yes, back to my lovely meat! This spice screams for BBQ parties. I also love to add this to my curries, since turmeric and cardamom are spices I love to add to my curries. 

CUMIN: this earthy spice is actually a bit cliché... almost every Middle Eastern dish consists of cumin! But why not? I love cumin and I have to admit that I fell in love with this also very late. If you are scared to use shawarma or hawaij, I think cumin is a good beginning spice to discover Middle Eastern cooking. A rich stew is only tasty when you can taste some herb cumin - it just gives everything the special something! 


This is a very delicious trip through Middle Eastern cooking and I hope I could show you some interesting spices and ideas today! Maybe you want to try some of them by yourself - it's 2019, time to stop thinking and just do whatever you feel like! Try something new, explore, and enjoy!
Cooking is really fun - let's explore more flavors this year together!

How Israeli does your pantry look like?