Fish Seasoning (Baharat Samak)

5 from 2 votes

If you’re looking for a Middle Eastern-inspired fish seasoning for your seafood dishes, baharat samak is perfectly spicy, earthy, and warm! Made by combining cardamom, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and paprika, this fish spice blend will add a kick to seafood, shellfish, and more.

Fish Seasoning spices in a bowl

I’ve been making my own spice blends and seasoning mixes for years now — it’s really become a passion of mine! While I could just as easily hunt down some of these blends at the supermarket or online, what’s the fun in that? Plus, I love knowing exactly what’s in the things that I eat (and serve). And what better way than to make absolutely everything from scratch?

If you feel the same, you’ll love my recipes for fish meatballs kofta, vindaloo curry powder, Indian chana masala powder, ras el hanout, and Lebanese zaatar. These are just a few of my favorites — you can find all of my homemade spice blends here. Today’s recipe is for fish seasoning, a Middle Eastern blend called baharat samak. It’s earthy, warm, and a little bit spicy, thanks to the addition of cayenne pepper.

It’s the ultimate blend for seafood. I love the idea of rubbing it all over salmon or cod. You can use it as a dry rub, or add a bit of olive oil to the mix to create a marinade. It would also work well with scallops and even shrimp! The possibilities are endless for this fish spice blend.

fresh fish with Fish Seasoning


  • Cardamom – This spice is complex, fruity, and herbal — and boasts a hint of citrus. You can use it in both sweet and savory dishes, and it complements fish really nicely. 
  • Ground Cumin – I use cumin a lot, and it’s the perfect addition to this fish spice blend. It’s a bit sweet, warm, and nutty. It works so well alongside the other seasonings. 
  • Turmeric – Bright in both flavor and color, turmeric is earthy and a little bitter. That said, it balances out the sweetness of some of the other seasonings in this mix.
  • Paprika – One of the most underrated spices out there, in my opinion! Paprika is also earthy. It boasts a peppery taste that I just love.
  • Salt – Use a bit of salt to balance out all of the other flavors in this seasoning blend. You’ll only need a bit as most seafood is already quite salty on its own.
  • Cayenne Powder – If you like spicy foods, feel free to up the quantity of cayenne to your preference. It’s fiery, bold, and slightly fruity. 


  1. Gather Your Ingredients. Make sure that you have cardamom, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt, and cayenne powder on hand. You’ll also need a measuring spoon set.
  2. Combine The Seasonings. Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can also blitz your fish spice blend in a spice grinder. This step is optional, but it helps to ensure that the salt becomes powdered. It will also ensure that the mixture is blended thoroughly!
  3. Storage. If you aren’t using your fish seasoning right away, make sure to store it in an airtight container. I like to keep mine in a small glass jar, but you can use whatever you have on hand!
bow filled with Fish Seasoning

What Is Baharat Seasoning Made Of?

Fish seasoning is also called baharat Samak. Baharat means spices in Arabic and samak means fish. This Middle Eastern spice blend varies by region, but it typically includes cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and paprika — like mine! You can also add black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, or cloves. Feel free to get creative and adjust this recipe to your specific needs.

Is Lebanese 7 Spice Mix The Same As Baharat?

As baharat means spices in Arabic, Lebanese 7 spice mix is sometimes simply called baharat. While it does include some of the same seasonings as this fish spice blend (find my recipe for Lebanese 7 spice blend here!), it’s not exactly the same. Notably, it features fenugreek and cinnamon, both of which aren’t used in my fish seasoning recipe.

What Does Baharat Samak Taste Like?

This fish spice blend is earthy, warm, and just a bit sweet. It’s similar to garam masala, in that it’s aromatic yet not too in-your-face in terms of flavor. You only need a bit to add a lot of flavor to your favorite seafood dishes! 

Where Does Baharat Spice Come From?

Baharat spice blends originated in Syria but are used across the Middle East. As mentioned, recipes vary by region, although the main ingredients are usually the same. You can almost always expect it to include cumin, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne.

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Fish Seasoning (Baharat Samak)

5 from 2 votes
This fish seasoning recipe is great for seafood dishes. Called baharart samak, it’s made with cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper.
Servings: 8
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes



  • Whisk together in a small bowl to combine. Store in an airtight container if not using right away.


I like to blitz this mixture in a spice grinder to make the salt powdered and thoroughly mixed, but this is optional.
Adapted from Sami Tamimi.


Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 52IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Spice Blend
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
Fish Seasoning in a bowl next to fish


I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    We loved this and the meatballs, great flavor and such a great recipe. I never would have thought to make meatballs from fish!