Monday, April 24, 2017

Multi-Tasker: Gesaria Spice Blend (Making Spice Blend Substitutions)

What Spices Are In Wat Spices? ...Wat, as in Doro Wat, that is!

Last week, I was in the process of making a batch of Doro Wat as the husband was working from home and I wanted to provide him something unusual for a hot, healthy lunch. So, imagine my surprise to realize I did not possess any Berbere spice. I thought I picked some up during my last trip to Kalustyans.  Weirdly, I had Shiro (which was also Ethiopian) but no Berbere. I decided to make do with the Shiro, and buy some Berbere for future batches.

So I bought a bottle of Berbere spice the next time I went to Whole Foods, and read the ingredients, and got ticked at myself, as the blend has so many familiar ingredients that are in Gesaria and Tandoori spice.

This then got me thinking about this Gesaria spice blend I get at my local Armenian shop.

Here's a contrast/comparison of what spices are in "wat" spices:

In conclusion:

I would substitute Gesaria for Berbere (and adjust with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger); or I would substitute Gesaria for Tandoori (or visa versa, and add allspice and black pepper, if I used Tandoori spice in lieu of Gesaria).  

Additionally, I would not substitute Berbere for Tandoori spice, given Berbere has more sweet smelling aromatic spices in it.

Gesaria spice seems to be the happy middle ground, and the spice to have on hand in bulk, a spice blend that can do (at a minimum as I can see it) TRIPLE DUTY, and can be used in Indian, Ethiopian, and Armenian recipes. 

Sy Syms used to say, "An educated consumer is our best customer." I wish I did this comparison before I bought my Berbere spice! I could have easily used my tandoori spice which I have on hand, and made additions of cayenne, cinnamon, and cloves.


Perhaps at the time I deconstructed each spice blend, I should have put Garam Masala in the first column--as it appears that Berbere is a hybrid of both, Tandoori spices and Garam Masala.  

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