Hawaij (Savoury Yemeni Spice Blend)


I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of August. Summer is my favourite season, and I’m not sure I’m ready to see it go. I love Autumn, too – it’s beautiful, especially here in Colorado as the trees change colours, but then we’re on our way to winter, when I become like a pill bug, rolled in a ball under a rock (blanket) for months on end. I hate the cold, though winter foods make it tolerable: stews, soups, crusty bread, those things give me life through the snowy winters here.

Winter for me means lots and lots of warm spices – and so when a colleague in the Middle East asked me if I’d had a Yemeni dish made with hawaij (pronounced: ha-why-ahge) I was excited to try it. Hawaij means ‘mixture’ in Arabic, and there are two types of it in Yemeni cuisine. A version with turmeric and cumin for savoury dishes (soups and meat dishes, generally) and a ‘coffee and tea’ version for mixing into Arabic coffee and tea; this recipe is for the former, savoury version – but I’ll be posting a recipe for the sweet version shortly. After sampling various Yemeni dishes (Denver metro finally has a Yemeni restaurant!) I fell in love with the stuff, and because there’s so much turmeric in it I’m convinced whatever I put it on instantly becomes healthier as a result. (That’s how that works, right?)

As always with my spice blends, I use my trusty electric spice grinder. I highly recommend purchasing one if you use a lot of spices in your food (we do) as it means you can purchase your spices in bulk and whole – which means they last much, much longer, saving you money. Ground spices simply don’t last very long – and lose their ‘oomph’ quickly, so if you want to get the best flavour and value, investing in a spice grinder (or even a good quality coffee grinder works here, too – so long as it’s clean) is well worth the small investment. I’ve had mine for over a decade and it’s still going strong. If you have neither, you can absolutely use ground spices (I’ve included those measurements below as well). If you’re going to buy pre-ground spices, I highly recommend The Spice House for their high quality (and free shipping if you order their environmentally-friendly flat packs!)

Hawaij (Savoury Yemeni Spice Blend) حوايج

This savoury Yemeni spice blend is made with turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cardamom, coriander, and Aleppo pepper.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings: 12 Tablespoons
Author: The Elegant Economist


  • 3 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp cumin seed (or ground cumin)
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seed (or ground coriander)
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns (or ground pepper)
  • 1 Tbsp white peppercorns (or ground pepper)
  • 1 Tbsp cardamom seeds (removed from pod) (or ground cardamom)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (or 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon)
  • 14 whole cloves (or ½ tsp ground cloves)
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)


  • Grind all spices together in a spice grinder. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.
August 26, 2019



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