Recipes | 29 May 2017Watermelon, Labne and Mint Salad with Lime-Advieh Dressing Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Tired of seasoning your food with basic salt and pepper? Discover the hundreds of spices that grow around the world and flavor local cuisines in Aliza Green’s The Magic of Spice Blends: A Guide to the Art, Science, and Lore of Combining Flavors. Her book will take you on a tour of several continents – from Europe to Asia to Africa – and teach you how to cook authentically flavored dishes. Expand your horizons and stimulate your tastebuds with these Middle Eastern recipes featuring Iranian spice advieh. Iran: Advieh Persian Advieh, cousin to Garam Masala, is a blend of five or more spices, perfumed with dried rose petals from Iran’s famed Ispahan roses. Advieh for rice dishes tends to be more fragrant and is sprinkled on the rice just before serving. Advieh for khoresht, or meat stews, usually includes tart dried limes and generous amounts of bittersweet saffron. Advieh for pickles emphasizes spicy and tart flavors. Other common additions to advieh are star anise, angelica leaves (found in Iranian groceries), black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cloves, sesame seeds, saffron (the world’s best grows in Iran, where saffron originates), and pistachios. Advieh is characterized by its sweet, delicate flavor with the haunting perfume of rose and the sharp, slightly bitter tang of dried lime. 1/4 cup (50 g) dried culinary roses, or 2 tablespoons (16 g) culinary rose petals 2 tablespoons (10 g) ground cinnamon, preferably true cinnamon 2 tablespoons (16 g) ground nutmeg 2 tablespoons (12 g) ground black pepper 1 tablespoon (6 g) ground cardamom 1 tablespoon (6 g) ground cumin 1 tablespoon (5 g) ground limu omani If the roses are whole, crumble them, removing and discarding everything but the petals. Combine all the ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place for up to 4 months. YIELD: About 3/4 cup (75 g) Watermelon, Labne and Mint Salad with Lime-Advieh Dressing The best version of this salad is made with yellow and red watermelons, here accented with tangy labne (Lebanese strained yogurt cheese) and sprightly lime-advieh dressing. The small, sweet, golden Yellow Baby melons are sometimes found at farmers’ markets but are not available commercially. Most watermelons these days are bred to be seedless, which is more convenient but their texture can be mushy and their flavor dull. A firm, deeply colored melon is best here. Have a clean kitchen cloth or paper towels ready to mop up the abundant juices released when cutting the watermelon. Native to southern Africa, sweet, juicy thirst-quenching watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt since the second millennium BCE and are found throughout the Middle East, where the seeds are toasted and served as a snack with drinks. 1 small watermelon, preferably seedless 3/4 cup (180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 6 tablespoons (90 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes) 1/2 lime, zested 2 tablespoons (12 g) Advieh 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 small handful spearmint leaves, shredded 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 pound (227 g) labne 1/2 cup (70 g) toasted pumpkin seeds (optional), for garnish 1. Cut off the two ends of the watermelon. Pare away and discard the outer green skin of the watermelon, cutting down as far as the red flesh. Cut into two hemispheres and lay them flat side down on a work surface. Cut into slices about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick, then cut into smaller rectangles, squares, or triangles. Pat with a paper towel to remove excess surface liquid. 2. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, most of the Advieh, salt, and pepper. In a large bowl, lightly toss the watermelon pieces, spearmint, and red onion with enough of the dressing to coat generously. Arrange in a salad bowl or on individual salad plates. 3. Spoon dabs of the labne all over the top of the salad and sprinkle with the remaining Advieh and the pumpkin seeds, if using. YIELD: 6 servings Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: A pinch of this and a dash of that, and you’ll be creating distinctive and delectable flavors in every dish! Today, more than ever, we have access to almost every spice and herb imaginable. But it’s the careful blending of herbs and spices that is the true art of the spice handler. The Magic of Spice Blends reveals the secrets of creating and cooking with the world’s classic spice blends from seven regions: Africa, the Far East, Europe, India, the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. Chef Aliza Green guides you through the principles of choosing, working with, and blending spices. Join the fun of creating personalized spice and herb blends and knowing just what goes into them–no ancient, bitter, musty dust here! Find resources on where to purchase great quality herds and spices, even organic, non-irradiated. You can even grow your own and use them to make those wonderful spice blends. Along with background information on the history, culture, and culinary uses of each blend, The Magic of Spice Blends includes recipes and variations for 50 spice blends and an additional 50 recipes featuring the blends, including: Spicy Moroccan Steamed Mussels with Charmoula (Africa); Vietnamese Chicken Bahn-Mi Sandwich with Chinese Five Spice (the Far East); Swedish Gingerbread Cookies (Europe); Grilled Vadouvan Salmon with Date-Tamarind Chutney (India); Watermelon, Labne, and Mint Salad with Lime-Advieh Dressing (the Middle East); Louisiana Spicy Boiled Crayfish (North America); and Jerk-Spiced Turkey Wings (the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America). Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.