Sitto’s Syrian Spice Blend

Published September 23, 2017

I will always remember that wonderful aroma as I walked into Sitto’s kitchen. It was most definitely due to her daily use of spices in her cooking. She, like all #Aleppo cooks, could never do without those fragrant and aromatic spices of her homeland.

On one particular day, as I watched her mixing some ground lamb in a bowl, she picked up her glass jar of mixed spices, which she called Datah. She saw that I was intent on learning and she brought the open jar up to my nose so that I could catch the scent. That was it…I was hooked on spices! From that day forward, I have had a real respect for their marvelous influences on a dish. Those spices delivered a deeper flavor to everything and always “told” you the region where they came from and its customary cooking. These Syrian cooks knew this and were never without their spices.

These spices may seem mysterious to a novice cook, and there are a few that are even exotic. For that reason, I’ve included a glossary of spices and herbs in both cookbooks, helping the reader know exactly what and how these spices are used. Every condiment, spice and herb in the cookbooks are readily available, making these recipes practical and easy to prepare. And the “Where to Buy It” pages guide the reader to purchasing them locally or online. The recipe for Sitto’s Syrian Spice Blend can be found on page 62 of Sitto’s Kitchen II cookbook.