Spice ID?

cranberries, pistachios, garlic

Before I went to Israel, I was introduced by my friend Paule to some wonderful spices and seasoning mixtures, which a friend of hers who lives in Tel Aviv brought to her. When I popped the lid off the first one, I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming aromas, some familiar – dill and garlic, and others with unidentifiable seeds and spices.

She shared some of them with me, and I liberally sprinkled them over eggplant dips and marinated chicken with the dill mixture. Which, of course, depleted my stock. So when I went to Israel, I was hoping to restock my stashes but didn’t come across them in the travels. I had a hard time explaining what they were when folks asked me what I was looking for. And I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I think they changed my life.

dill spice

The first was the dill mixture. Dill isn’t widely used in France, although it’s available (It’s mostly paired with salmon) and I surprised a few friends by its alliance with le poulet. And aside from me, I think I’ve gotten a few other people hooked on this particular one around here.

red spices

Another spice blend was fiery-red, with what looks like coriander seeds, rosemary, and coarse salt, amongst the blend. When I asked around about this one before, some told me it was simply called “Tuscany seasoning”, perhaps for lack of a better word or description? This one made an amazing spice rub for some pork dishes that I made.

garlic, dried cranberries, pistachios

There was also this one – a heady mixture of garlic, pistachios, and dried cranberries. I’m not sure what one does with this one, but I can’t resist lifting the lid and taking a whiff whenever I can. My Arabic and Hebrew are a little rusty so I’ve included the labels for ID purposes. Can anyone give any clues as to what they are? Then I’ll know what to ask for next time I go. Because I’m not sure how much longer I can go on without having them.

68 comments

  • The labels say:
    Garlic Dill
    Tuscana, aka Tuscany
    Rice Mix

    As for the rice mix, cook with rice with the mix–delicious. You can also use the dill mix for rice as well. Not sure about the Tuscany, haven’t seen that one, but looks like you found a good use for it. =)

  • I hope you can figure them out. They look like the would be fantastic in a lot of savory dishes and perhaps some sweet ones. I would love to be able to make my own versions since sadly the only ethnic markets near me are Asian ones or Amish.

  • Hi,
    It looks like the containers came from a supermarket deli corner. This specific supermarket chain is called “חצי חינם” (“chatzi chinam” = “half free”). It’s one of those chains that has huge stores in industrial zones and so (although my knowledge is about 3 years out of date, maybe they are more easily reachable now…).

  • The one with the cranberries and pistachios is a mix for rice. You can find it in all Israeli markets where you have the spices stands.

  • Tuscany – i use it for baked potatoes

  • You already got the translation in the first comment :)
    About the rice mix, you’re supposed to put it in the rice while it is boiling 3 minutes before it ends boiling.
    then you keep the spices in the rice.
    you can find plenty of sorts in Israel. They are delicious and so easy to use
    Bon appetit et bon week-end !

  • The rice mix looks exactly like one I’ve bought before from the Israeli company, Pereg. In the states they are available in vacuum packed bags at all the kosher/Israeli markets. Ill get my sister in Israel to weigh in on the others….

  • Anat & Shayna: Interesting that it’s for rice. What a great idea! Will have to try it…thanks

  • I don’t know what they are (though the first commenter did), but they all look gorgeous. I especially love the last one. I like all things cranberry!

  • Hi, Did you try to ask at this place in Paris?
    Izraël
    30 Rue François Miron, 75004 Paris
    01 42 72 66 23
    they might even sell some of them…
    I know I have to go get their salad mix but the store might be closed for the summer vacation.
    (I have no link to this store, i just shop there from time to time)

  • as an Israeli living in the states i come back home after a visit to Israel with lots of containers filled with goodies .
    when I ran out of stuff until the next visit i order from:
    http://www.pereg-spices.com/
    excellent quality !

    Thank you for such a great blog !

  • Interesting that it’s for rice. What a great idea! Will have to try it

    there’s salt in there – don’t add your regular tsp per cup
    taste the mix for saltiness

  • Ohhhh, this is painful…..they look wonderful and as such I want to try them…I hope someone can tell you the the mix….the last one looks also like there are pine nuts in it….

  • I’m thinking one of them is za’atar, a middle eastern spice mix containing sumac. http://chennette.net/2009/12/17/zaatar-sumac-and-a-recipe/

  • you can mix your own if you have small herb garden. mix basil, oregano, argula and some dill, add dried chili pepper put in blender, chop fine, add sea salt, have instant spice to caryy with you on trips…play around, add, sun dried tomatoes,cranberries etc.

  • The first one is dill garlic. It will be great mixed with cream-cheese. I think it’ll be great also with grilled fish (although I never tried this particular mixture myself, but it’s common) and also mixed with rice.

    The second one is Toscana mixture. It fits meat, grilled vegetables and also on top of a focaccia.

    The third one is rice mixture – cook with long-grain rice (the most common type of rice in Israel) will produce a delicious dish.

    I hope I was a little help :)
    And it’s really a heart warming to see that you enjoyed so much the trip to my beautiful country :)

  • Photocopy the lids and pin them up on telephone poles around Paris, ‘Missing’.
    Wait there are no phone poles in Paris.
    Other option is to pass out copies at CDG for El Al flights
    I was desperately seeking dried spearmint in Paris for Shirazi salad.
    All I found was peppermint tea with big branches in it, until someone sent me to the Persian street in Paris. Surely they have these at Izreal or elsewhere in the Marais.
    Another trip to Isreal is solution..?
    I plan to import US dill seeds next trip – it’s extremely frustrating how pathetic French dill is.

  • Za’atar is another lovely blend but doesn’t have dill in it. But since I use za’atar on grilled flatbread, you may want to try that mix for it. Great along side a salad or a beautiful roast chicken. I hope you find a recipe for all. They look wonderful.

  • You got the translations and yes, the last one is for rice. Some large supermarket chains here have an entire counter with different kinds of these rice mixes but exactly what they all contain remains a mystery – and I’ve asked almost everywhere I’ve seen them. You add them to the rice a few minutes before it’s done boiling. Enjoy!

    When you run out – send me an email or use my contact form and I’ll go shopping ;)

    What’s this, though, about the French not using a lot of dill? I don’t know what we’d do without it here! We buy it in bags of big bunches every week and use it in everything from dips to chicken to pumpkin soup.

    • There are herbs that are popular in Paris – such as thyme and Bay leaf – but others like oregano and marjoram aren’t easily found (actually, I’ve never seen them in Paris.) Dill is sold at markets although it doesn’t seem to be widely used. When I’ve asked friends, people tell me they use it with salmon. But it doesn’t seem to make an appearance with other things. I made chicken soup with a handful of fresh dill in it, and use it to marinade chicken (with lemon and garlic), and folks seem to like it : )

  • Does anyone have recipes for these? They look SO good, I want to make them at home!

  • “Skhug (Hebrew: סחוג‎ s’khug) also spelled zhug, is a hot sauce popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Originally from Yemen, it’s also popular in Israel. Skhug is made from fresh hot peppers seasoned with coriander, garlic and various spices. Skhug adom (red skhug) is made with red peppers and skhug yarok (green skhug) from green peppers. Skhug chum (brown skhug) is skhug yarok with tomatoes. In Israel, skhug is sometimes referred to by the more generic term kharif (Hebrew: חריף; lit. “spicy”). It is a popular condiment at Israeli falafel and shawarma stands. Traditionally, skhug is ground with a mortar and pestle. Each ingredient is ground separately by hand, mixed together and ground again.”

    Go to http://www.pereg-spices.com/ and check the spices, the salad mixes and the rice mixes. I think you will find what you are looking for. If they don’t ship to Paris let me know and I will see that you get them.

    Darn thing these gorgeous flavors that drive us to distraction and yet they come in a package, no?

  • What lovely spice mixes! I love the Toscana mix and use it almost with everything(great on pizza…) I even take it to my friends in Finland when I go there..

  • Consider loading these photos on your phone next time you go to Israel so that you can show the text on the lid to people.

  • The cranberry-garlic mixture does look like something great for rice; that was my first thought, too. But couscous sounds a bit better to me–regular or Israeli. With some grilled fish or lamb…and a bit of sauteed vegetables. Hm.. Pretty quick and tasty. Happy weekend!

  • Check out this website – http://israel-spices.com/page.asp?id=2.
    They are affiliated with a very old store in Tel Aviv (Allenby st. Corner 2 Nachalat Binyamin) where I buy spices when I go to Israel. Might be worth contacting them and sharing your descriptions.

  • I was in Israel when you were and bought a similar rice mix in the Carmel shuk. The man at the spice stall told me that you should add it to the rice AFTER cooking as you want everything to remain crunchy.

  • The French have been taught dill as associated with the Swedish way of preparing raw salmon with salt sugar and plenty of dill for a really marvellous dish called GRAVLAX. The French are actually touchingly fond of Sweden..
    Swedes however have their use of dill from the Russian kitchen where it is used in abundance. Both countries use dill in the very delicious dill vinegar and milk sauce for boiled veal. In France the nearest equivalent to this dish is called “blanquette de veau” however no dill in it.
    Russians make a great dill soup from the same ingredients as in the veal sauce.

    New carefully boiled potatoes are always served with a great deal of freshly cut dill in Sweden. You add chunks of salted butter on your plate for even greater bliss when eating the potato.
    Dill goes well with all kinds of fish not just when marinating herring and sardines. You can google for recipes.
    .
    Whenever I go to Sweden I buy kilos of fresh dill you will find it in any supermarket
    One deep freezes it for use all year round as it never loses its special fragrancy.
    A special kind of dill has beautiful aromatic blossoms (seeds sold dried)
    used by Swedes as they boil crayfish (the point of August).
    This kind of dill I have never seen in France and very wonderful also with all kinds of dishes. I would have thought that dill would be a natural ingredient also in the
    Eastern European Jewish kitchen.

  • Perhaps you could see if it is available in the U.S.? An area such as Crown Heights- Brooklyn, NY.
    I know there are many stores there that import food items in for their Jewish community.

  • I can see that you got spot on answers to the spices and their use, regarding those who commented that they would love to get some of those spices, even though only 3 are shown here and in the smallest supermarket store near me there is a good selection of at least 30 different mixes for various uses (I have in my kitchen 4 or more rice mixes).

    Anyway what im trying to say, is that I know that not everyone can come and visit Israel (even though you should like David showed and wrote accompanied by spectacular photos) I’ll gladly try and send out some spice mixes to you guys (and girls).

    You can contact me on im_not_danielp@hotmail.com
    It sound like a fun experience and since the price on mixes are pretty low here i’ll gladly send you guys the mixes (as long as it won’t be too much for me to handle :))

  • I learned so much about spices from Madhur Jaffrey including selecting, roasting, grinding, their combinations and uses. Fortunately, I have access to great spice sources here in NYC. One of my favorites, which also does a mail order business, is Kalustyan’s at 123 Lexington Ave. Here are a few photos of the well-stocked store of world-wide spices: http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com/archives/kick-it-up-a-notch-at-kalustyans/

  • I love seeing Israeli food through your eyes, it makes me proud (as an Israeli) and it reminds me of the great selection we have here :)
    You already got great answers for the mixes.
    as you already experienced, we have spice shops here which keep the freshest and best selection of spices and mixes.
    Pereg is one option and a great place to shop(a bit pricey though), when you come again to visit I recommend checking a Yemenite spice shop where you can find the most amazing and unique spices. Some of them carry their own special blends and mixes.
    I live in a small town called Ness Ziona and we have a fab Yemenite shop. If you want I’ll be happy to send you mixes and other special spices.
    A tip for 2 days old pita bread, deep fry it in olive oil. when it cools sprinkle Za’atar (Google translate: Hyssop) on top. You can serve it with cheese spread, or on top of a lettuce salad.
    I don’t know if you tried Nigella/ black cumin, If you haven’t it is amazing as a topping for buns or bread. but that’s common knowledge in Israel. Add it to white cheese let it sit for about 20 min, and you’ll have an amazing flavored white cheese

  • Shayna and Sharon seem to have the answer but it is surprising they are from a supermarket chain. I will take a look next time I’m near that particular supermarket and will let you know. I have noted also the barcodes because, after all, what’s in a name? ;-)

  • superb

  • Pereg spices from Israel has a small selection of these mixes and they are available in the USA. In Israel all the markets like Carmel Market in Tel Aviv or Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem have stands selling mixes like these. There’s also a great health food store in Netanyahu called Eden Teva that has the most amazing selection – and they list the ingredients so you don’t have to guess what’s in them.

  • Are these mixes fresh or dried? One post says make them yourself but doesn’t say if you dry them, keep them in the fridge or??????.

  • Rushing so no tim eto see if someone else has posted this. From a kosher site,

    http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipe/cranberry-pistachio-biryani/

    Contains the main ingredients you mention for Item #3 and the other seasonings may be the same or similar as well. As someone mentioned, the item you found seems to be a ready mix seasoning for rice (biryani).

  • Reading some of the comments makes me feel like I’m in a classroom full of 1st graders, all waving their hands and shouting.

    Reading further down makes me want to buy fresh dill!

    Thx for another great post.

  • As a recent newcomer to this very enjoyable blog, I have to say how impressed I am by the numerous friendly and helpful followers who leave comments.

    It’s a pleasure to be in such good company.

    Lynn
    Perth, Western Australia

  • Hi David,

    I’m copying in the response from my Israeli friend, Nava, in Tel Aviv:

    Hi Debbie,
    Glad to hear from you (anyway, following your facebook).

    I can identify the spices, but more important is to identify where
    it was bought since for the same name you can get a different
    blend in different shops. The store where these spices were bought is called : ‘chazi chinam’ it’s a chain and they have
    supermarkets in Chulon, Rishon le’Zion, Petach Tikva and may be more.

    So, the first one is called ‘Shum Shamir’ (shum= garlic, shamir=dill)
    The second is called ‘Toscana’ and this can be different from a store to store.
    The last one is called ‘ta’arovet le’orez’ which means a blend for rice – this does not say a lot
    since there are many blends for rice, but you can identify it in the store.

    Hope this helps! I enjoy your blog immensely! Thanks very much!

    Greetings from Boulder, Colorado!
    Deborah

  • Now I want to try to make these, they look so good. Hoping to find a recipe through some of the comments above. But one question: the spice mixtures seem to use fresh spices and herbs, correct? Not dried?

    • They are moist and fresh-looking (and smelling!) but I think they made be very freshly dried, then mixed with a little olive oil or something to preserve their freshness.

  • David, if you’re getting seriously hooked on spices then yes you do need, neeeed, NEED to go to India. For the food, and all kinds of other reasons. I’ve been gathering – not as organised as “collecting” – Indian cookbook for over 40 years, best and most beautiful intro to Indian food is Christine Manfield’s recent TASTING INDIA, check it out. India is a wonderful place to visit.

  • Speaking of spice mixtures … when I see dill in the summer, I yearn for the Silver Palate Cookbook’s dill and tomato soup. Allspice and orange peel round out the flavor profile. And it’s almost as good in the winter when canned tomatoes are better than those in the produce section.

    http://www.recipelink.com/cgi/msgbrd/msg_script.pl?printer=1&board=11&thread=9480

  • I’m seriously craving for a spice blend recipe. I want to have this in my kitchen too!! (without having to travel to Israel to get them, could get a bit expensive)

  • I see that you have plenty of help with the I.D.’s on those lids but it doesn’t clarify what “rice mixture” spice is! Next time you are in Israel, head 30 minutes north of Haifa to the most exciting spice market I have ever experienced: http://www.derech-hatavlinim.co.il/english.asp. You can wander through the fields of herbs and then buy anything your heart desires from row after row of these fresh herbs combined in vaguely named mixtures. They are ALL hard to resist. Plastic containers and ziploc bags are included and you can mark your mixtures if you have a good translator with you. I go there EVERY chance I get! LMK….

  • From what I see, I’m pretty sure you can make at least the rice spicing yourself: it’s just dried onion (do they sell this in Paris?), dried cranberries, pistachios and pine nuts. If it helps, I am flying to Paris at the end of September (Woohoo!!!) and I can buy some and give you or someone you know (or use the local mail, if it allows seinding spices, and send it to you. less expansive than getting a “reguler” delivery from Israel). I even sometimes buy in this supermarket, since it’s pretty cheap. I can also buy them in the Israeli version of “wholefoods”, where theoretically the spices don’t have MSG in them.
    The garlic-dill thingy is indeed delicious. I put it on “white cheese” (plain soft spreading cheese, I suppose you had it for breakfast here because it’s quite impossible to avoid it). In general, garlic-dill flavouring is popular here for cheese, or crackers, so I suppose this is just an “add you own garlic-dill” so people can use it in everything.

  • FRESH DILL – the very dark green fragrant fresh one : goes perfectly with tomatoes, olive oil, salt and ground pepper. OR with ricotta / feta cheese or cottage cheese. Another perfect match is with cooked spring peas boiled in a little water mixed with olive oil, a dash of fécule de maïs (corn starch) and the fresh dill (finely cut and lots of it) sprinkled over !!! try it and you will not regret it.

  • I’m sure everyone appreciates Amy’s kind words. When David asks a question, we do try to respond.

    I have a hunch that almost all here are far beyond first grade, however.

  • I googled (in Hebrew) for the ingredients of the Tuscan mix since I wasn’t familiar with it. I found two interesting hits: One from an Israeli spice importer and distributor and a recipe. Both are in Hebrew, so I will attempt to translate:

    http://www.neptunefoods.co.il/viewProduct.aspx?productID=949 says the Tuscan mix is composed of 11 spices including Atlantic sea salt, garlic rosemary and additional spices or herbs.

    http://cafe.themarker.com/post/2188226/ gives a recipe for sea bream (la daurade royal en français) with portobello mushrooms and using Tuscan mix and says in a note that it’s composed of black pepper, red pepper, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and Atlantic sea salt.

    From the picture, I’d agree with you that you can definitely see rosemary and coriander. Could there be fennel in there as well?

    Now that you got my curiosity piqued I will have to buy some when I’m in Israel this winter. I’ll be stopping in Paris as well if you need a supply ;-)

  • Hi!
    I was very interested to read this posting especially, as my son is a coeliac, living in Japan. As such, he finds the sauces used on Japanese food to be no-go areas and so has been looking for spice blends to add flavour to the plain rice he eats, as this is his safest option. The Pereg link was interesting, and just the sort of thing I was looking for. Unfortunately, they don’t ship outside the US :-( (and I live in Australia).

    Does anyone know of a similar site which does do international shipping?

    Thanks :-)
    PS David, this is a great blog – I wait eagerly for the weekends, when I can sit in bed in the mornings and relax and take the time to enjoy your latest piece. cheers!

  • garlic pistachio and cranberry!?

  • mystery foods! adding a little ‘spice’ to life? har har har.

  • The cranberries & pistachio are mixed with dried fried onions and they are used for rice either to add them while cooking the rice or spread on top for a crunchy topping. You can find a variety of mixtures for rice in every market and in some of the supermarkets in Israel.

  • Is the rice mix a type of pesto? It appears to be s much.

    Also–from appearance, here’s a bottle of Tuscan spice that belongs right next to my bottled roquefort cheese dressing and California champagne.

    http://www.mccormickgourmet.com/Products/Blends/Tuscan-Seasoning.aspx

  • It’s funny that it’s hard to find dill in Paris, or that it’s not often used. I planted dill in my garden one time, and I’ve had dill ever since. It’s a prolific re-seeder, and I don’t think I could get rid of it even if I tried. Sorry, that’s my pathetic comment to your wonderful posts, The Israeli food looked so spectacular and intensely flavored, -I just can’t fathom the extreme wonderfulness of the spice mixtures you featured.

  • If you do come across za’atar (more common in Lebanese places, I think), it makes a very good marinade for grilled chicken. I mixed with plain yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s one of my favorites.

    And now I will have to search for some of these others!

  • David, You have the best reader comments. I have learned so much from them on Spice ID! And you and they have inspired me to try out new mixes and spices. Thank you, Judy

  • The best place to buy spices in Israel is from Herb & Spice Farm — they have so many wonderful blends of spices, spices and teas. I think they might sell there product in England.
    Web site: http://www.derech-hatavlinim.co.il/english.asp

  • The spices as mentioned are from “Chatzi Chinam” “חצי חינם”. These supermarkets are quite reachable, we have one a few minutes drive from our home in Hod Hasharon, although I don’t think they have that many shops, not really a big supermarket chain. On the other hand it’s not really surprising to find it there because their stores are absolutely fantastic huge ones with a very wide selection of everything and quite cheap. Of course all the markets in Israel, big and small, and several shops have a lot of interesting spices and mixtures.

  • Hi David! I’m not sure if you remember me but we sat next to each other at a book signing.I am also a restaurant owner in NYC. I follow your posts religiously and I’m a huge fan.
    I purchase many of my spices when I’m in Israel. I have a rice mix that contains cranberries, coconut and almonds. I add it to rice, Quinoa and other grains.
    I have a spice mixture that I add to Israeli Salad. It contains dill, parsley, mint, sumac, salt and pepper. I often add zaatar. I’ve used Israeli and Syrian zaatar, but I prefer Lebanese zaatar.
    Keep up the great writing and recipes.

  • I love fresh dill in egg salad, in pickled cucumber brine and most of all in filled cabbage Hungarian style where I add fresh chopped dill to the ground meat-rice-chopped tomatoes-fried onion mixture. I add 2 cans of pickled shredded cabbage (if you can get deli pickled cabbage it’s even better) under the cabbage parcels with fried onions and on them ( without the onions) when cooking in a light tomato sauce not forgetting adding tomato paste to the boiling water I pour on the cabbage. This is so wonderful that even people who never eat cabbage love it.
    The Rice mixture in your photo is only one of the dozens mixture possibilities. It originates from Iran and may be the bordered Iraqi zones.
    Pereg is a well known spice company in Israel which do these mixture, or you can get them from private vendors in the markets (Carmel). The best spice shop in Israel is Froind at the Alenbi side of the Market in Tel-Aviv.

  • I buy pereg in Australia and the one I buy has dried onions, pistachio, cranberries, pine nuts etc. I put it on top of cooked rice when serving it.

    Dill is good for everything – I make a corn salad with it with red pepper, dill cucumbers and mayo (very israeli), also chicken soup, in mayo with cornichons and lemon as a sauce for fish cakes, in cucumber salad with a vinegary dressing.

  • The dill is also really great on rice, with a bit of shredded carrot and possibly some pine nuts.

    We often also cook rice half way and then mix it with a spice mix such as these (or one of our own concoction; be creative!) and either raw pine nuts or cooked and peeled chestnuts before stuffing it in a chicken and filling the rest of the pan and roasting it. It’s delicious!

    Some of my favorite home-made spice mixes:
    1. 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder (another option instead of cumin, put rosemary leaves, oregano…), 1 tsp thyme leaves, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika (not a must)
    2. 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp rosemary leaves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme leaves

  • Well, I won’t add to what people already correctly wrote to you concerning these spice mixes. Just that you can find a huge number of different spice mixes in many stores in Israel.
    I’ve never understood the fascination with “rice” mixes, or more correctly why they are all considered for rice exclusively they work great with rice, but they are great (as you mentioned) on/with many other foods. One store I was in had over 20 different mixes, not including all the standard and other spices – I’ll try to take some pictures next time I go there.
    The one thing I wanted to add, is that making these “mixes” is super easy, most of them are just that – mixes, there is no preparation involved beyond just putting all the ingredients together, and guesstimating their ratio…
    Give it a try, I’m sure you can invent a few yourself :-)

  • What a fantastic mix for the rice! Unbelievable!! I want them so bad…I guess I will have to order them online from one of the websites which were posted by one of the readers!! Awesome, can’t wait to try them!!

  • David – on 3rd August I said I would take a look for you in that particular supermarket. But I went to “half price” instead of “half free” (!) but never mind. What I want to say is – even in a recently opened Osher Ad Supermarket where I live in Beit Shemesh I am pleased to say they have the same wonderful combinations of herbs and even better!
    So, next time you need, try also “Osher Ad” :-)
    and if I can be of any help in purchasing for you, let me know.
    Have a great weekend Shabbat Shalom

  • My sister says those are from Tiv Tam and Eden. Easy to find.