Hummus with baharat spiced beef

A delicious Middle Eastern spice mix elevates this hummus to new levels of deliciousness.
Hummus with baharat spiced beef - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

Hummus with baharat spiced beef

A delicious Middle Eastern spice mix elevates this hummus to new levels of deliciousness.
Hummus with baharat spiced beef - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

Vidar Bergum is a food writer and cookbook author based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hummus is more than just a dip. It’s also the perfect vehicle for anything spiced and tasty. This hummus with baharat spiced beef is one of my favourites.

I could talk for forever about the cultural importance of hummus in the Middle East, among British students or in radical movements of the past – and probably many other places too. But this post has a more practical purpose: In addition to being an incredibly good dip, hummus is the perfect base for a full meal.

When making hummus, I always double up. This way, I have enough for dinner – and lots left over for breakfast, as an energiser before work-out or as a late-evening snack for the next couple of days.

What is baharat spice?

This is my favourite substantial hummus variation at the moment: my silky smooth hummus topped with warming and slightly exotic minced beef on top. Perhaps with pita and a salad on the side to provide a little more variation in texture and flavour. But really, nothing else is needed.

I’ve called this hummus with baharat spiced beef. Baharat is arabic for spice. The Turks have also adopted the word, using it both to mean spice and spice mix.

Any shop selling Middle Eastern spices will surely have at least one spice mix labelled baharat, though what’s inside is never easy to know: there is no standard. Usually, cumin, allspice and coriander seeds are included, but so are at least 3-4 other spices which may vary.

Photo: Bahar Kitapci

Huge meze spread seen from above
Photo: Bahar Kitapci
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I usually don’t buy spice mixes. Making it yourself is very easy, and it means you can adapt to your mood of the day. Because even though the amount of spices may look a lot, they are actually familiar ones most people with a slight interest in food will keep in their spice racks. And if you don’t have all of them, I recommend nothing less than going out and buying them – and learning how to use them!

My version is warming and slightly spicy, courtesy of the chili, ginger and cinnamon. Just perfect for autumn. The mince takes on a deliciously exotic flavour without any one spice (or even the total) being overpowering. Together with creamy hummus this is proper comfort food. So dig in! Serves 2-4, depending on what else is on offer.

Hummus with baharat spiced beef - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

Hummus with baharat spiced beef

Yield: 2-4 portions

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 500 g minced beef (or lamb, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (thick stalks removed), plus extra to garnish
  • 5 large mint leaves, finely sliced
  • salt
  • 500 g hummus (1 portion)

Baharat spice mix

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp pul biber or 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper or chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Make the spice mix by mixing all of the baharat spice mix ingredients.
  2. Fry the pine nuts in the olive oil in a large, thick bottomed frying pan over medium heat while stirring constantly until starting to brown, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the minced beef and spice mix. Continue frying while chopping the meat into tiny pieces until the meat is nicely browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the butter and flat-leaf parsley and continue frying for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add the hummus to a large or several small plates. Top with the baharat spiced beef, the fresh mint and a little extra flat-leaf parsley.

Notes

You can prepare the hummus in advance and store in the fridge; take it out at least 30 minutes before eating, if you can, to allow the hummus to come back to room temperature.

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Hey, there!

I’m Vidar. For the past few years, I’ve been exploring the foods of Turkey, the Middle East and beyond from my house in Balat, Istanbul. Let me show you around!

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I’ve published two books on Turkish and Middle Eastern food, available in Norwegian and German.

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