Hawaij – Yemeni Spice Mix

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Hawaij is a Yemeni spice mix very central in Yemeni cuisine. It is used abundantly in Yemen, obviously, for soups, stews and other dishes, but is also used a lot in Israel where there is a large Jewish Yemenite community. In fact, Israelis took this spice mix and started using it to spice other non-Yemeni dishes, creating new and interesting flavors to old dishes.

To be more accurate, there are two different Hawaij mixes, one for soups, stews, etc., and one to spice coffee and sweets. We use both spice mixes on a regular basis. This is part of my Yemenite heritage. My Persian father fell in love with the mixes, so my mother (the Yemenite) made sure we used them at home in many dishes, including some of the Persian dishes she learned to cook from my paternal grandma. And as funny as it sounds, living so many years in America, every time my parents come to visit, my mother brings with her (to my request) bags of these spice mixes that we love so much. We keep them in the freezer for freshness. When we run out, though, we make them ourselves…

Both mixes are shown here. To get the freshest flavor, it is better to use whole spices, toast them in a hot pan for 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly to prevent them from burning. Then remove from the heat and chill. There is no need to roast the spices for the coffee hawaij.

Place all spices (except the turmeric) in a coffee grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds and mix in the turmeric. The lazy version is to get all spices already ground and just mix them all together.

Hawaij for Soup Spice Mix

Prep Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp whole cumin seeds (3 tbsp ground)
  • 4 tbsp black peppercorns (1 tbsp ground)
  • 3 ½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tbsp coriander seeds (2 tsp ground)
  • 1 tbsp green cardamom pods (1 tsp ground)
  • 1 ½ tsp whole cloves (½ tsp ground)
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek (optional)

Instructions

  • Ground fenugreek is added to the mix in some regions in Yemen, and is an interesting addition to the mix. If you choose to add it, add 1 tsp of ground fenugreek seeds but make sure you toast them first to remove their bitterness.
  • We use this mix to spice grilled chicken, Israeli couscous, sauteed veggies, and stews, but we especially love it in Yemenite chicken soup.
Course: spices
Cuisine: Yemeni
Keyword: soup, soup spice, Yemeni

Hawaij for Coffee Spice Mix

Prep Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp green cardamom pods (1 tsp ground)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • ¾ tbsp whole cloves (¼ tsp ground)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • There is no need to pre-roast the spices for the coffee hawaij.
  • When using hawaij in coffee, use about ⅛ to a ¼ tsp for a small cup of coffee. You can also use it to spice tea to make chai. We love to use this coffee hawaij mix in cakes and cookies as well. And we add it to our Yemenite charosset on Passover.
Course: spices
Cuisine: Yemeni
Keyword: Coffee, spice mix, Yemeni

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