Baharat is very common in Middle Eastern cooking. It is not actually one spice, but a blend of several spices. What spices are included in the blend vary geographically, but you can generally expect the following spices to be found in baharat: black pepper, coriander, paprika, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon. Many people like baharat because it does not contain any salt. Again, it does vary geographically, so your baharat may contain additional spices or may not have all the spices listed above. For example, in Turkey, baharat often contains mint.
How to Use Baharat
Baharat can be used many ways in the kitchen. It's used as a seasoning for meat, seafood, and vegetables as well a dry rub or marinade for all of them. It is by no means spicy. It is aromatic and gives a little zest to any dish -- especially, rice, lentil, and pilaf dishes. It has a very nice blend of both sweet and smoky, which you can ascertain by giving an open jar a little sniff.
Experiment using baharat in everything from hamburgers to lamb chops. For recipes using ground beef, mix the baharat into the meat before cooking, usually about 1 teaspoon for every pound of ground beef. While the taste is not overpowering, it is very aromatic, hence such a small amount.
You can also use baharat as a marinade for chicken and lamb. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of baharat, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt in a bowl or freezer bag with chicken or lamb and allow it to marinate for 24 hours. The results are absolutely delicious and can only be achieved by using a blend of spices like baharat.
For a zesty version of pita bread, brush a little butter or olive oil onto pita bread and sprinkle a little baharat on the top. Bake for 10 minutes at 250 F and you have bread with a little "kick"!