A great trick to make your chosen spices for bolognese more flavourful is to fry them in a bit of vegetable oil before adding the other ingredients. Doing so enhances the spices’ original flavours and makes them brighter and bolder. Compared to dry roasting them, cooking them in oil for just a few minutes does not alter their flavour but rather makes them even fresher and brighter. The best results are gained from frying whole spices only to ground them afterwards. However, frying ground spices in oil also works wonderfully.
Arabic-style spaghetti bolognese, also known as allayeh, is a well-known classic throughout the Middle East. Though our Arab spaghetti recipe does not feature all the ingredients allayeh is known for, the two are quite similar. Made with an easy, yet delicious, premade sauce, cooking our eggplant bolognese takes little time and effort. The sweet-tangy tomato sauce has a deliciously creamy consistency and a mild, savoury flavour that serves as a wonderful backdrop for the chilli flakes, cumin, and coriander.
If you happen to be on the lookout for more tasty pasta dishes, we highly recommend our recipes for lamb moussaka pasta bake, one pot lasagne, and pasta bake with white sauce.
An Arab spaghetti bolognese is perfect as an iftar meal. It is warming, filling, and comforting. An eggplant bolognese is even more filling than a purely meat-based one. The vegetable gives the dish a lot of body; as you cook it, it becomes incredibly tender, soft, and creamy. Though eggplants are quite mild-tasting, they are great at soaking up flavours from bold sauces. This makes it perfect for a spicy Middle Eastern eggplant bolognese, where there is plenty of flavours to enhance.
One of the best spices for spaghetti bolognese is cumin. This well-loved spice has a wonderful ability to provide any dish with a wonderful depth. Its rich flavour is robust, earthy, and slightly bitter and citrusy. Using cumin balances the sweetness of the alliums and tomatoes and makes it more complex.
Coriander is the perfect companion for cumin, as the flavours go so well together even though they are quite different. Coriander is a bit sweet but still citrusy like cumin, but still savoury, warm, and herbal.
The chilli flakes add taste as well as scent. It turns up the heat considerably with its spiciness and, with the other delicious spices for bolognese, makes it wonderfully warm, fragrant, and aromatic.
Though this dish already contains some spice, other wonderful spices for bolognese include cinnamon and cardamom. Staples in Middle Eastern cuisine, these warming spices are used in the before-mentioned dish allayeh. The cinnamon serves to make it hot, pungent, and earthy, while the zesty cardamom mirrors the citrusy flavours of the ground coriander.
If you want to use fresh coriander in spaghetti bolognese instead of only ground coriander, we recommend garnishing the finished dish with the leaves for a beautiful colour contrast and added citrusy brightness.
Pine nuts are also used in allayeh eggplant bolognese to give it a bit of crunch. These tasty, small nuts have a soft, nutty flavour with an understated sweetness that serves to mellow the herbs and spices for bolognese slightly. As such, they help ensure a well-rounded eating experience. Try using cinnamon, cardamom, and pine nuts to go all in with this classic Middle Eastern spaghetti dish.